Iranian Gendarmerie

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Iranian Gendarmerie

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Seal of the Islamic Republic of Iran Gendarmerie

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Seal of the Iranian Imperial Gendarmerie
Agency overview
Formed 1910
Dissolved 1991
Superseding agency Law Enforcement Force of Islamic Republic of Iran
Jurisdictional structure
National agency Iran
Operations jurisdiction Iran
General natureGendarmerie

The Iranian Gendarmerie also called the Government Gendarmerie (Persian : ژاندارمری دولتیŽāndārmirī-ye Daulatī), 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. [1] 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. [1] In 1991 the Iranian Gendarmerie was merged with other police forces to form the Law Enforcement Force of Islamic Republic of Iran.

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.

A highway patrol is either a police unit created primarily for the purpose of overseeing and enforcing traffic safety compliance on roads and highways, or a detail within an existing local or regional police agency that is primarily concerned with such duties. They are also referred to in many countries as traffic police, although in other countries this term is more commonly used to refer to foot officers on point duty who control traffic at junctions.

Iran Country in Western Asia

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. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is 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. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.



Persian Central Government Gendarmerie
Jhāndārmeri-ye Dowlati


General Harald Hjalmarson  (sv ) in Persia, 1911
Active 1911-1920
Country Persia (Iran)
Allegiance to the Shah of Persia
Size 7,200
Patron Ahmad Shah Qajar
Colors light blue, grey and gold
Engagements Shiraz, Kazerun, Boroujerd, Soltanabad
Gen Jarl Hjalmarson

Throughout the nineteenth century military modernization was a constant preoccupation of Iranian reformers and the history of the Qajar period is peppered with attempts to create a standing army on the European model. As a neutral choice between Britain and Russia, the Persians would choose that Sweden would be the country given the task to secure their trade routes and unify the country. On 15 August 1911, the Swedish Major Harald Hjalmarson would be given the rank of General and put in command of the Persian Gendarmerie. Many other officers, often recruited from the Swedish aristocracy would now come to follow in Hjalmarson's footsteps.

Qajar dynasty monarchy state of Iran from 1789 until 1925

The Qajar dynasty was an Iranian royal dynasty of Turkic origin, specifically from the Qajar tribe, which ruled Persia (Iran) from 1789 to 1925. The state ruled by the dynasty was officially known as the Sublime State of Persia. 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.

Sweden constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million of which 2.5 million has a foreign background. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre (57/sq mi). The highest concentration is in the southern half of the country.

During the First World War the officers of the Swedish Gendarmerie, who like most of the Iranian intelligentsia and constitutionalists were sympathetic towards Germany, helped the Central Powers and at one point in autumn 1915 seized control of Shiraz with the connivance of the German-trained provincial governor Mehdi-Qoli Mokhber'ol Saltaneh Hedayat. [2] After the 1921 coup d'état the War Minister Reza Khan, merged the two viable military forces which existed in Iran at that point i.e. the Cossack division and the Gendarmerie, to create the modern Iranian national army. A rural police, amnieh, was created and the nazmieh or the police force was also revamped and placed under the Iranian officers. [3]

Shiraz City in Fars, Iran

Shiraz is the fifth-most-populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars Province. At the 2016 census, the population of the city was 1,869,001 and its built-up area with "Shahr-e Jadid-e Sadra" was home to 1,565,572 inhabitants. Shiraz is located in the southwest of Iran on the "Rudkhaneye Khoshk" seasonal river. It has a moderate climate and has been a regional trade center for over a thousand years. Shiraz is one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia.

Mehdi Qoli Hedayat Prime Minister of Iran

Mehdi Qoli Khan Hedayat, also known as Mokhber-ol Saltaneh, was Prime Minister of Iran and an author of several books on Iranian music, modern education, poetry, current affairs, and most notably a memoir covering his political tenure under the last 6 kings of Iran.

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.

The disbanding of the Swedish Gendarmerie would greatly weaken the Qajar monarchy and with the Persian Cossack Brigade being the only remaining army unit, it greatly facilitated Reza Shah’s coup in 1921. Hjalmarson would return to Sweden and take command of the volunteer Swedish Brigade serving on the White side in the Finnish Civil War. Another officer, Eric Carlberg, would later on become Sweden’s ambassador to Iran, and a confidant of Mohammed Mosaddeq.

Persian Cossack Brigade elite cavalry unit formed in 1879 in Persia

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.

Finnish Civil War 1918 civil war in Finland

The Finnish Civil War was a conflict for the leadership and control of Finland during the country's transition from a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire to an independent state. The clashes took place in the context of the national, political, and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The civil war was fought between the Reds, led by a section of the Social Democratic Party, and the Whites, conducted by the conservative-based Senate and the German Imperial Army. The paramilitary Red Guards, composed of industrial and agrarian workers, controlled the cities and industrial centres of southern Finland. The paramilitary White Guards, composed of farmers, along with middle-class and upper-class social strata, controlled rural central and northern Finland.

Eric Carlberg Sportsman

Gustaf Eric Carlberg was a Swedish Army officer, diplomat, sport shooter, fencer, and modern pentathlete who competed at the 1906, 1908, 1912 and 1924 Olympics alongside his twin brother Vilhelm.

General Harald Hjalmarson's uniform on display at the Swedish Army Museum Persian Gendarmerie general's uniform, worn by General Harald Hjalmarson.jpg
General Harald Hjalmarson's uniform on display at the Swedish Army Museum

Post Revolution

Following the overthrow of the Shah in 1979 the Imperial Iranian Gendarmerie remained in existence, although with charges of title, insignia and senior officers. In 1992 it was merged with the Shahrbani (Persian: شهربانی Šahrbānī) and the Islamic Revolutionary Committees (Persian: کمیته Komīte) into a single national law enforcement force.


The Gendarmerie's Purpose was to guard the frontiers and interior. It consisted of battalions of 4 to 6 Companies. For discipline and administration, the force was under the supervision of the General Officer commanding the division in whose area it was stationed. For police administration work, it came under local civil authorities. It was armed with old pattern rifles of various makes and some Soviet, French and British carbines, but not many modern. It consisted of a total of 7 Independent Mixed Regiments and 15 Mixed Battalions, forming a Corps. [4]


Flag of Sweden.svg General Harald Hjalmarson August 1911 – February 1915
Flag of Sweden.svg Colonel Per Nyström March 1915 – end of 1916
Flag of Sweden.svg Colonel Tage Fredrik Gleerup August 1918 – end of 1921

Notable officers

För tapperhet i fält

För tapperhet i fält and För tapperhet till sjöss are two Swedish military medals awarded to officers and soldiers of the Swedish Armed Forces who have—as the medal names suggest—shown valour in the field or at sea in wartime. These two medals, along with the various grades of the Order of the Sword, are the only awards in Sweden that have the designation "Swedish war decorations". The medal was instituted by Gustav III on 28 May 1789, during his war against Russia and was meant to complement the Order of the Sword—which was instituted on 23 February 1748 and was awarded for the same purpose—valour in the field or at sea—but only to officers.

Martin Ekström Swedish politician

Martin Eugen Ekström was a Swedish military adventurer who became the leader of the National Socialist Bloc, an umbrella organization for various fascist and National Socialist groups. Ekström was born in By, Avesta Municipality. During the 1918 Finnish Civil War, he led the Vasa Regiment which was responsible of the Vyborg massacre. Lieutenant colonel Ekström led the 3rd Battlegroup of the Swedish Volunteer Corps in the Finnish Winter War. He died in Helsinki, aged 67.



See also

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  1. 1 2 The Making of Modern Iran, page 49
  2. Sykes vol.II. 444- 446
  3. Aqeli, Roozshomari, vol. II., pp. 164–8
  4. Unknown Armies vol.2, Persia/Iran by Peter Abbott, Raider Books (1989)