Fathollah Akbar Sepahdar

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Prime Minister Sepahdar, 1921

Fatholla Akbar Sardar Mansour Sepahdar (* 1878 from Rasht , Gilan ; † 1947 ) was a Persian politician and Prime Minister of Iran from October 1920 to February 21, 1921.


He came from a large landowning family from Gilan . His uncle Akbar Khan Beeglar Begi, who had the concession to collect tariffs in the Persian ports on the Caspian Sea , owned the largest land in Gilan and was considered the richest man in Gilan. After his uncle's death, Sepahdar married his widow and took over his property. In return for regular cash transfers to Mozaffar ad-Din Shah , Fatholla was given the title Sepahdar and later Sepahsalar.

In 1907 he supported the Constitutional Revolution and was arrested for it by Mohammed Ali Shah . He was released following intervention by the British Embassy, ​​but forced into exile in Mazandaran by Mohammed Ali Shah . In December 1908 he returned to Tehran and fled to the Russian embassy before being arrested again. After the overthrow of Mohammed Ali Shah in 1911, he became Minister of Defense in Hassan Vosough's cabinet .

In November 1920, his land was confiscated by the Bolsheviks and members of the Jangali movement, led by Mirza Kuchak Khan . After the end of the civil war against the Jangalis, he got back large parts of his land.

After Hassan Pirnia's resignation , Sepahdar became Prime Minister in October 1920. Sepahdar promised the British government to hold general elections and to reconvene Parliament, which had been dissolved during World War I in 1915 . The most important goal of the British government was to finally get the Anglo-Iranian treaty signed in 1919 , which was seen as the successor to the 1907 Treaty of St. Petersburg with Russia, confirmed by the newly elected parliament in order to make it legally effective. The political situation in Iran at that time was completely unstable. The red army had marched into northern Iran. In June 1920 Mirza Kutschak Khan had proclaimed the Persian Socialist Soviet Republic , the British expeditionary corps under General Dunsterville was in retreat and Mirza Kutschak Khan threatened to march to Tehran with the support of Soviet forces and overthrow the central government. Ahmad Shah was already planning his escape to Europe and the British embassy was drafting evacuation plans to move the embassy to Isfahan . Women and children were to be brought to the British garrison in Baghdad . In this situation it seemed more appropriate to Sepahdar to first negotiate a Soviet-Iranian agreement with the communist government in Moscow than to have the Anglo-Iranian treaty, which was concluded without Russia's participation, ratified by parliament. The negotiations with Soviet Russia, which had already been started by Hassan Pirnia, had led to a draft treaty in December 1920 that was almost ready to be signed. However, the Soviets were not ready to withdraw their troops immediately from Iran.

On January 15, 1921, Ahmad Shah informed the British ambassador that he wanted to replace Sepahdar and appoint a new cabinet headed by Hassan Mostofi and the Qajar princes Farmanfarma and Abdol Majid Mirza Eyn-al-Dowleh as the most important ministers. A few days earlier, Ahmad Shah had told the British ambassador that

“That he had decided to leave the country as a private person. He spoke to his brother, Crown Prince Mohammad Hassan Mirza, and offered him the throne. He told him that he did not want to know anything about the throne and that he was not ready to take over his successor. If he, Ahmad Shah, went, Iran would become a republic and he could not see what was wrong with an Iranian republic. "

But it shouldn't come to that. In the coup of February 21, 1921 Sepahdar was overthrown by Seyyed Zia al Din Tabatabai with the help of a unit of the Persian Cossack Brigade led by Reza Khans . The first steps towards the replacement of the Qajar dynasty and the rise of Reza Shah were taken.

Sepahdar withdrew from politics and moved to his lands in Gilan. There he died in 1947 at the age of 67, six years after Reza Shah's abdication in 1941 and three years after his death in 1944.

He was inducted into the British Order of St. Michael and St. George in 1903 as Knight Grand Cross .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Cyrus Ghani: Iran and the rise of Reza Shah. IBTauris, 2000. p. 54, p. 130.


  • Alireza Avsati: Iran in the last 3 Centuries . Intishārāt-i Pā'kitāb, Tehran 2003, ISBN 964-93406-6-1 (vol. 1), ISBN 964-93406-5-3 (vol. 2) (Persian).
  • Cyrus Ghani: Iran and the rise of Reza Shah. From Qajar collapse to Pahlavi rule . IB Tauris, London et al. 2000, ISBN 1-86064-258-6 , p. 54, p. 118 ff.
  • Cosroe Chaqueri: The Soviet Socialist Republic of Iran, 1920-1921. Birth of the Trauma . University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh et al. PA 1995, ISBN 0-8229-3792-1 , p. 475 ( Pitt series in Russian and East European studies 21).