Warning. His Imperial Majesty [Mohammad Ali Shah] has apparently forgotten that…he was not born by his mother possessed of crown and signet-ring, nor does he hold in his hand a warrant of absolute sovereignty from the unseen world of the spirits. He should remember that his sovereignty depends only on the acceptance or rejection of the people. The people that have elected him are also able to elect another in his place.
Edwards G., Brown. The Persian Revolution of 1905-1909. Page 169. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910. Print.
Ervand, Abrahamian.1982. Iran Between Two Revolutions. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1982.page 50. Print.
Editor’s Note: One of the most interesting attributes of fighting in the Middle East is how counter-intuitive tactics can become when facing stronger opponents. When the shah bombed the parliament building in 1908 initiating a civil war with the constitutionalists, instead of attacking the king directly inside Iran, the rebels mobilized a revolution in a foreign land. A month after the bombing of the parliament, Iranian revolutionaries helped carry out the Young Turk Revolution in the Ottoman Empire. This secured a foreign military alliance with the new leadership they then used to combat Russian strength. The Young-Turks and other revolutionary groups from other countries in the region piled into Iran as early as 1905 when the first major protest was formed in response to the violent punishment of an elderly sugar merchant by a local governor. Revolutionaries came from the Caucuses, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the Ottoman Empire, traveled between the Middle East and Europe during the years of the fighting, and worked internationally to finance numerous rebellions in the region.
By the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917, some of same players participated in each of the major revolutions in the region that toppled 2 of the region’s most powerful monarchs in the Ottoman Empire and Russia and subverted the authority of the Qajar kings in Iran. The Ottoman victory proved to be short-lived however with the break-up of the empire in WWI, and the communist regime in Russia fell between 1989 and 1991. Iran has known very little stability between its revolutions but has industrialized and advanced throughout conflicts combining technological advancement with aggression. The social contract of Persian kingship that provided some accountability to the Iranian people as a check on its powers does not apply to today’s Islamic Republic and ongoing protests in the country continue to echo those attributes of Persian kingship like the quote referenced here that continue to reside in Iranian consciousness.
Visit ArchivalInstitute.com to learn more.