|1921 Persian Coup|
|Commanders and leaders|
|1,500 Persian Cossacks|
|Casualties and losses|
|several policemen killed or injured in Tehran during the coup|
1921 Persian coup d'état, known in Iran as 3 Esfand coup d'état (Persian : کودتای ۳ اسفند ۱۲۹۹), refers to several major events in Persia in 1921, which eventually led to the establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty as the ruling house of the country in 1925.
Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Its territory spans 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), making it the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital, largest city, and leading economic and cultural center.
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.
The Pahlavi dynasty was the last ruling house of the Imperial State of Iran from 1925 until 1979, when the Monarchy of Iran was overthrown and abolished as a result of the Iranian Revolution. The dynasty was founded by Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925, a former brigadier-general of the Persian Cossack Brigade, whose reign lasted until 1941 when he was forced to abdicate by the Allies after the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran. He was succeeded by his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran.
The events began with a coup by the Persian Cossack Brigade headed by Reza Khan, and directed by the British, [ citation needed ] on 21 February 1921. With this coup Zia'eddin Tabatabaee took over power and became Prime Minister. The coup was largely bloodless and faced little resistance. With his expanded forces and the Cossack Brigade, Reza Khan launched successful military actions to eliminate separatist and dissident movements in Tabriz, Mashhad and the Janglis in Gilan. The campaign against Simko and the Kurds was less successful and lasted well into 1922, though eventually concluding with Persian success.
The Persian Cossack Brigade or Iranian Cossack Brigade was a Cossack-style cavalry unit formed in 1879 in Persia. It was modelled after the Caucasian Cossack regiments of the Imperial Russian Army. Until 1920, it was commanded by Russian officers, while its rank and file were composed of ethnic Caucasians and later on Persians as well. During much of the Brigade's history it was the most functional and effective military unit of the Qajar Dynasty. Acting on occasion as kingmakers, this force played a pivotal role in modern Iranian history during the Revolution of 1905–1911, the rise of Reza Shah, and the foundation of the Pahlavi Dynasty.
Seyyed Zia'eddin Tabatabaee was an Iranian politician and the Prime Minister of Iran (Persia) from February to May 1921 under Ahmad Shah, the last Shah of the Qajar dynasty.
In late 1920, the Persian Soviet Socialist Republic in Rasht was preparing to march on Tehran with "a guerrilla force of 1,500 Jangalis, Kurds, Armenians and Azerbaijanis", reinforced by the Bolsheviks' Red Army. This fact, along with various other disorders, mutinies and unrest in the country created "an acute political crisis in the capital."
Rasht is the capital city of Gilan Province, Iran. Also known as the "City of Rain", it had a population of 639,951 as of the 24 October 2011 census.
The Jangal (Jungle) Movement, in Gilan, was a rebellion against the monarchist rule of the Qajar central government of Iran. It lasted from 1915 to 1921.
Armenians are an ethnic group native to the Armenian Highlands of Western Asia.
By 1921, the ruling Qajar dynasty of Persia had become corrupt and inefficient.The oil-rich nation was somewhat reliant on the nations of Britain and Russia for military and economic support. Civil wars earlier in the decade had threatened the government, and the only regular military force at the time was the Cossack Brigade.
The Qajar Empire, also referred to as Qajar Iran, officially the Sublime State of Persia, was the state ruled by the Qajar dynasty, an Iranian royal dynasty of Turkic origin, specifically from the Qajar tribe, from 1789 to 1925. The Qajar family took full control of Iran in 1794, deposing Lotf 'Ali Khan, the last Shah of the Zand dynasty, and re-asserted Iranian sovereignty over large parts of the Caucasus. In 1796, Mohammad Khan Qajar seized Mashhad with ease, putting an end to the Afsharid dynasty, and Mohammad Khan was formally crowned as Shah after his punitive campaign against Iran's Georgian subjects. In the Caucasus, the Qajar dynasty permanently lost many of Iran's integral areas to the Russians over the course of the 19th century, comprising modern-day Georgia, Dagestan, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.
The Qajar shah in 1921 was Ahmad, who had been crowned at the age of eleven. He was considered to be a weak, incompetent ruler, [ citation needed ]especially after British, Russian and Ottoman occupations of Persia during World War I. In 1911, when the capital city, Tehran, had been seized by the Russians, armed Bakhtiaris tribesmen, rather than Iranian regular troops, expelled the invaders. This further diminished the government's reputation, rendering it almost powerless in time of war.
Ahmad Shah Qajar, was Shah (King) of Persia from 16 July 1909 to 15 December 1925, and the last ruling member of the Qajar dynasty.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.
Tehran is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With a population of around 8.7 million in the city and 15 million in the larger metropolitan area of Greater Tehran, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and Western Asia, and has the second-largest metropolitan area in the Middle East. It is ranked 24th in the world by the population of its metropolitan area.
Britain, which played a major role in Persia, was dismayed by the Qajar government's inability to rule efficiently. [ citation needed ]This inefficiency was the background of a power struggle between Britain and Russia, each nation hoping to control Persia.
On 14 January 1921, the British General Ironside chose to promote Reza Khan, who had been leading the Tabriz battalion, to lead the entire brigade. [ citation needed ]About a month later, under British direction, Reza Khan's 3,000-4,000 strong detachment of the Cossack Brigade reached Tehran.
On February 18, 1921, the Cossacks reached Tehran meeting little resistance.On early morning of February 21, they entered the city. Only several policemen, taken by surprise, are said to had been killed or wounded in the center of Tehran. Backed by his troops, Reza Khan forced the government to dissolve and oversaw his own appointment as minister of war. Reza Khan also ensured that Ahmad, still ruling as shah, appointed as prime minister Sayyed Ziaoddin Tabatabaee.
On February 26, the new government signed a treaty of friendship with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, formerly the Russian Empire. As a result of the treaty, the Soviet Union gave up some of its former Russian facilities in Iran, although the Soviet diplomats ensured that their nation was allowed to intervene with its military in Iran, as long as the intervention was "self-defense". [ citation needed ]The USSR also gave up any Russian-owned railroads and ports in Iran.
Prior to the coup, Ahmad Qavam, governor of Khorasan, had asserted his loyalty to the Qajar regime. When he refused to recognize the government installed by Reza Khan, [ citation needed ]he was jailed in Tehran. During his imprisonment, Gavam nurtured a hatred of the man who had arrested him, Colonel Mohammad Taghi Pessian, now the gendarmerie chief.
Sayyed Ziaoddin Tabatabaee, who had been installed as prime minister, was removed from office on May 25, by Shah Ahmad's decree. Shortly afterward, Qavam was released from prison and given Tabatabaee's former post.[ citation needed ] Colonel Pessian refused to accept this betrayal of the coup's ideals of a democratic Iran and began to gather popular support and many tribes flocked to make up his formidable force.
After Gavam was made prime minister, one of the coup leaders and now the gendarmerie chief Colonel Mohammad Taghi Pessian opposed the new order and erosion of the democratic principles for which he and many of his fellow Iranians had fought and so departed Tehran. Soon at the head of a rebel army, Pessian went to battle with the armies of several regional governors. However, the rebels were eventually defeated and Reza Khan ordered that Pessian be beheaded and that the head be returned to Tehran and put on display to prove that Pessian, now a national hero, was dead to quell further rebellions. [ verification needed ]The Kurds of Khorasan also revolted in the same year.
The campaign on the Republic of Gilan was taken in early July 1921, by the main Cossack force, led by Vsevolod Starosselsky.Following a gendarme operation, led by Habibollah Khan (Shiabani), they cleared up Mazandaran and moved into Gilan. On August 20, ahead of the arrival of the Cossacks, the insurgents pulled out of Rasht, retreating towards Enzeli. The Cossacks entered Rasht on August 24. Though further pursuit after the revolutionaries turned successful at Khomam and Pirbazar, they have become heavily assaulted later on by the Soviet fleet, which bombed them by heavy artillery fire. First, it had been believed that the entire force of 700 men, led by Reza Khan, became annihilated in this event, though later the actual casualty rate was determined to be about 10%, with the rest of them scattering upon the bombardment. As a result, Starosselski ordered evacuation of Rasht.
The Soviet Republic of Gilan officially came to an end in September 1921. Mirza and his German friend Gauook (Hooshang) were left alone in the Khalkhal Mountains, and died of frostbite.[ citation needed ]
In the aftermath of 1921 events, relations of Persian government with the Sheikhdom of Mohammerah had also become strained. In 1924, Sheikh Khazal rebellionbroke out in Khuzestan, being the first modern Arab nationalist uprising led by the Sheikh of Mohammerah Khaz'al al-Ka'bi. The rebellion was quickly and effectively suppressed with minimal casualties.
Rezā Khan was placed on the throne by constitutional assembly in 1925, and many of those involved in the coup were either killed or put in prison. One General, Sepahbod Amir Ahmadi, tried to stand up against the establishment of a new monarchy, but on a visit to his now imprisoned brother-in-law, General Heydargholi Pessian, who had been one of the leaders of the coup that defeated the Qajar dynasty, Amir Ahmadi confessed that his efforts to prevent Reza Khan being made Shah and the monarchy reinstated were being thwarted by the British. Reza Khan was finally declared Shah, taking the surname Pahlavi and thus founding the Pahlavi dynasty. The Pahlavis ruled in Iran until the revolution of 1979, when the government was toppled and replaced with that of the Islamic Republic of Iran, headed by Ruhollah Khomeini. [ citation needed ]The day after the Shah left Iran, the revolutionary leaders declared Colonel Mohammad Taghi Pessian the first Martyr of the Revolution although Pessian was a Secularist.
Reza Shah Pahlavi, commonly known as Reza Shah, was the Shah of Iran from 15 December 1925 until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on 16 September 1941.
Fazlollah Zahedi was an Iranian general and statesman who replaced the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh through a coup d'état, in which he played a major role.
The Persian Socialist Soviet Republic, also known as the Soviet Republic of Gilan, was a short-lived Soviet republic in the Iranian province of Gilan that lasted from June 1920 until September 1921. It was established by Mirza Koochak Khan, a leader of the Constitutionalist movement of Gilan, and his Jangali partisans, with the assistance of the Soviet Union's Red Army.
Sepahbod Amanollah Jahanbani was a member of the Qajar dynasty and a senior general of Reza Shah Pahlavi.
Mīrzā Kūchak Khān was an early twentieth century revolutionary, a Gilani Nationalist and the president of the Republic Of Gilan. He is considered a national hero in modern Iranian history. He was the founder of a revolutionary movement based in the forests of Gilan in northern Iran that became known as the Nehzat-e Jangal . This uprising started in 1914 and remained active against internal and foreign enemies until 1921 when the movement was completely abandoned after the demise of Mirza Kuchak Khan.
PrinceAbdol-Hossein Farman Farma was one of the most prominent Qajar princes, and one of the most influential politicians of his time in Persia. He was born in Tehran to Prince Nosrat Dowleh Firouz in 1857, and died in November 1939 at the age of 82. He was the 16th grandson of the Qajar crown prince Abbas Mirza. He fathered 26 sons and 13 daughters by 8 wives. He lived to see four sons of his first wife die within his lifetime.
Sepahbod Ahmad Amir-Ahmadi (1884–1974) was a military leader and cabinet Minister of Iran.
Ahmad Qavam, also known as Qavam os-Saltaneh, was a politician who served as Prime Minister of Iran five times.
The Iranian Gendarmerie also called the Government Gendarmerie, was the first modern highway patrol and rural police force in Iran. A paramilitary force, it also played a significant part in politics from its establishment in 1910 during the Qajar dynasty until the advent of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1921. It continued to serve until the end of the Pahlavi era and was modernized into the Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie. Originally established as a constitutional army, the force employed Swedish officers in command of Iranian personnel to perform both traditional police duties and conduct military campaigns against tribal forces. In 1991 the Iranian Gendarmerie was merged with other police forces to form the Law Enforcement Force of Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Persian Constitutional Revolution, also known as the Constitutional Revolution of Iran, took place between 1905 and 1911. The revolution led to the establishment of a parliament in Persia (Iran) during the Qajar dynasty.
Assadollah Hosseinpour was born in 1882 or 1883 in Tehran, Iran. He was one of Ahad Agha Shirvani’s three sons, and grandson of Moustafa Khan Shirvani, governor of the Shirvan Khanate), a descendant of the Shirvan Shah who fought against Shah Esmaeil from the Persian Safavid dynasty. Following the defeat of the Shirvan Shah, the Khanate of Shirvan was annexed to Persia, but Mustafa Khan retained the governorship of Shirvan.
Mahmoud Afshartous, also written Afshartoos, was an Iranian general and chief of police during the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Afshartous was abducted and killed by anti-Mossadegh conspirators, which helped pave the way for the 1953 coup d'état.
Sheikh Khazal rebellion refers to the 1924 Arab separatist uprising by Khazal al-Kabi, the Sheikh of Mohammerah, in Iranian Khuzestan. The rebellion was quickly and efficiently suppressed by Reza Pahlavi with minimal casualties, subduing the Bakhtiari tribes allied with Sheikh Khazal and resulting in his surrender.
Vsevolod Starosselsky was a Russian military officer of Russian and Georgian noble background, known for his role in the aftermath of the Persian Constitutional Revolution as a commander of the Persian Cossack Brigade from 1918 to 1920.