Ahmad Qavam

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Ahmad Qavam
19th Prime Minister of Iran
In office
17 July 1952 22 July 1952
Monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Preceded by Mohammed Mosaddeq
Succeeded by Mohammed Mosaddeq
In office
28 January 1946 18 December 1947
MonarchMohammad Reza Pahlavi
Preceded by Ebrahim Hakimi
Succeeded by Mohammad-Reza Hekmat
In office
9 August 1942 15 February 1943
MonarchMohammad Reza Pahlavi
Preceded by Ali Soheili
Succeeded by Ali Soheili
In office
22 June 1922 15 February 1923
Monarch Ahmad Shah Qajar
Preceded by Hassan Pirnia
Succeeded by Mostowfi ol-Mamalek
In office
4 June 1921 21 January 1922
MonarchAhmad Shah Qajar
Preceded by Zia'eddin Tabatabaee
Succeeded by Hassan Pirnia
Personal details
Born2 January 1873
Tehran, Iran
Died23 July 1955(1955-07-23) (aged 82)
Tehran, Iran
Political party Democrat Party
Other political
Reformers' Party (1920s) [1]

Ahmad Qavam (2 January 1873 – 23 July 1955; Persian : احمد قوام), also known as Qavam os-Saltaneh (Persian : قوام السلطنه), was a politician who served as Prime Minister of Iran five times.

Persian language Western Iranian language

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 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.

Prime Minister of Iran former a political post in Iran

The Prime Minister of Iran was a political post in Iran that had existed during several different periods of time starting with the Qajar era until its most recent revival from 1979 to 1989 following the Iranian Revolution.


Early life

Qavam was born in 1876 to a prominent Iranian family with origins in Ashtian. His uncle, Amin Aldoleh, was a prime minister of Iran. He served in the royal court of Nasereddin Shah early in his career. He slowly climbed his way up, and obtained the title Ghavam al-Saltaneh during the Constitutional Revolution of Iran. Hasan Vothuq (also known as Vothuq al-Dowleh) was his older brother. The letter signed by Mozaffaredin Shah to accept the Iranian Constitutional Revolution was written by ghavam, who had the title of Dabir-e Hozoor (Private Secretary) at the time. In fact ghavam was instrumental in the Iranian Constitutional Revolution[2]. He became Prime Minister several times during both Qajar and Pahlavi dynasties. Any time the country needed him, he accepted the challenge. He played a significant role in preventing the USSR from separating Iran's northern states twice. Nevertheless, historians have mixed feelings about his legacy.

Political career

Ahmad Ghavam in the Imperial Court regalia. Ahmad ghavam.jpg
Ahmad Ghavām in the Imperial Court regalia.

In 1921, during the coup d'état of Tehran against the Qajar government, Tabatabaei ordered Colonel Pessian to arrest many of the opposition, among them Ahmad Qavam. Qavam was arrested and sent to Tehran.

However with the fall of Zia'eddin Tabatabaee's government, Mostowfi ol-Mamalek among others was offered the position of Prime Minister, which he and the rest declined, due to the unstable political situation at the time. Hence Ghavam who had just been released from the Ishratabad prison of Tehran was offered the position, which he accepted and became Prime Minister overnight. So unusual was his rise that Iraj Mirza wrote the following verses:

Ziaeddin Tabatabaee Prime Minister of Iran

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.

Mostowfi ol-Mamalek Iranian politician

Mirza Hasan Ashtiani, commonly known by the bestowed title Mostowfi ol-Mamalek was an Iranian politician who served as Prime Minister on six occasions from 1910 to 1927.

Iraj Mirza Iranian poet

Prince Iraj Mirza, son of prince Gholam-Hossein Mirza, was a famous Iranian poet. He was a modern poet and his works are associated with the criticism of traditions. He also made translation of literary works from French into Persian.

یکی را افکند امروز در بند
کند روز دیگر او را خداوند

"One day in prison he is thrown,
another day the King's chair he'll own"

Ghavam in fact ordered the arrest of Seyyed Zia'eddin Tabatabaee in an incident 25 years later. He also ordered the crackdown on the revolt of Colonel Pessian which he crushed with the aid of Reza Pahlavi

Reza Shah Shah of the Imperial State of Iran

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.

Of the major events that occurred during his terms as the Prime Minister, was his invitation to Arthur Millspaugh for assisting the government in its finances. Another was the riots of 1942 for economic hardship. He appointed Sepahbod Ahmad Amir-Ahmadi to restore order and end the riots, which he did forcefully. Qavam was also instrumental in the 1942 Tripartrite Treaty between Iran, Russia, and Britain.

Arthur Millspaugh American wrirter

Arthur Chester Millspaugh, PhD, (1883–1955) was a former adviser at the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Foreign Trade, who was hired to re-organize the Finance Ministry of Iran from 1922–1927 and 1942-1945.


He was again voted Prime Minister on 26 January 1946 with a slim margin in the Majlis of 52-51. [2] The Majlis thought he would have the best chance of resolving the Soviet inspired rebellion of the occupied Azerbaijan province since Qavam was the largest property-owner in the region. Qavam did not disappoint. He ordered the Iranian delegation to the UN to negotiate issues pending before the Security Council directly with the Soviet delegation. He then flew to Moscow to discuss the issues personally with Stalin. [3]

When the Soviets violated the terms of the Tripartite Pact which called for all foreign military forces to be withdrawn from Iranian territory by 2 March 1946, it drew a strong rebuke from Parliamentary Whip, Mohammed Mossadegh.

Qavam arranged a deal with the Soviets, granting an oil concession in the North contingent on the approval of the Majlis after the elections. Under the terms of the agreement with Qavam, Soviet troops began withdrawing from Iran. When the new Majlis was seated, they immediately voted against the proposed Soviet oil concession. [4] This earned Qavam the congenial title, "The Old Fox".


Qavam died at the age of 82 in 1955 in Tehran. He was survived by his second wife and his only son, Hossein.

See also

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Qavam family

The Ghavam (Qavam)family was one of the most influential Iranian families in the Qajar era (1785–1925). They were descendants of Haj Ebrahim Khan Kalantar. Many sources such as British secret documents and Nasser Al Din Shah Qajar himself believed that the family was Jewish. The family was so powerful with wealth and political power that it was often said in Shiraz "Before Reza Shah, Qavams were Shah here." The surname Ghavam is borrowed from honorific title Ghavam-al-saltaneh from Qajar court which means pillar or continuation of Kingdom.

The following lists events that happened during 1946 in the Imperial State of Iran.


  1. Abrahamian, Ervand (1982). Iran Between Two Revolutions. Princeton University Press. p. 121. ISBN   0-691-10134-5.
  2. "Iran Chooses Premier in 51 to 50 Vote", Salt Lake Tribune, 27 January 1946, p8; Manuucher Farmānfarmaian and Roxane Farmanfarmaian, Blood and Oil: A Prince's Memoir of Iran, from the Shah to the Ayatollah (Random House, 2005), p. 179
  3. Samii, Bill (6 May 2005). "World War II -- 60 Years After: The Anglo-Soviet Invasion Of Iran And Washington-Tehran Relations". Radio Free Europe. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  4. Rubin, Barry (1980). Paved With Good Intentions. Oxford University Press. pp. 33–35. ISBN   0-19-502805-8.


Political offices
Preceded by
Zia'eddin Tabatabaee
Prime Minister of Iran
Succeeded by
Hassan Pirnia
Preceded by
Hassan Pirnia
Prime Minister of Iran
Succeeded by
Mostowfi ol-Mamalek
Preceded by
Ali Soheili
Prime Minister of Iran
Succeeded by
Ali Soheili
Preceded by
Ebrahim Hakimi
Prime Minister of Iran
Succeeded by
Mohammad-Reza Hekmat
Preceded by
Mohammad Mossadegh
Prime Minister of Iran
Succeeded by
Mohammad Mossadegh
Party political offices
Party founded
Leader of the Democrat Party of Iran
Party dissolved