Faramarz Aslani "dar sokoti mandeh boodam naomid" "Mashrooteh Revolution"_انقلاب مشروطه





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Published on Jan 7, 2009

In 1905, Iran was still under the rule of the Qajar Dynasty who had ruled Persia since 1781. Over the duration of Qajar rule, Persia had gradually become a victim of Russian and British imperial policies in The Great Game. This international rivalry had caused successive central governments to become increasingly weak and corrupt. The country's management was often handled by powerful regional nobles who paid their token respects to the monarchy. In effect, this resulted in the central government relying on these nobles for income, justice, and security.

This was particularly true of the brief reign of Mozzafar-al-Din Shah (1896-1908), during whose rule the Constitutional Revolution began. Mozzafar-al-Din Shah often relied on his chancellor to manage his decentralized state, he had also taken out several major loans from Russia and Britain to pay for his extravagant lifestyle and the costs of the central government. Despite some attempts to reform the central treasury during his reign he was continually undermined by both Russia and Britain. His dire financial situation caused him to sign many concessions to foreign powers, an example being the D'arcy oil concession which provided oil to Britain for 60 years at an extremely low price.

As concessions were granted with increasing frequency on an expanding list of trade items ranging from weapons to tobacco, the established noble classes, religious authorities, and educated elite began to demand a curb on royal authority and the establishment of the rule of law as their concern over foreign, and especially Russian, influence grew.
In December 1905, two Iranian merchants were punished in Tehran for charging exorbitant prices. They were bastinadoed (a humiliating punishment where the soles of one's feet are caned) in public. An uprising of the merchant class in Tehran ensued, the clergy following suit as a result of the alliance formed in the 1892 Tobacco Rebellion.

The two protesting groups sought sanctuary in a mosque in Tehran, but the government violated this sanctuary and entered the mosque and dispersed the group. This violation of the sanctity of the mosque created an even larger movement which sought refuge in a shrine outside Tehran. The Shah had no choice, and was forced to agree to the concessions demanded by this larger movement: a "House of Justice".

In a scuffle in early 1906 the Government killed a seyyed (descendant of the prophet Muhhamed), and a large number of clergy sought sanctuary in the holy city Qom. Many merchants went to the British embassy for refuge.

In the summer of 1906 approximately 12,000 men camped out in the gardens of the British Embassy. Many gave speeches, many more listened. It is here that the demand for a parliament was born, the goal of which was to limit the power of the Shah. In August 1906, Mozaffareddin Shah agreed to allow a parliament, and in the fall, the first elections were held. In all, 156 members were elected, with an overwhelming majority coming from Tehran and the merchant class.

October 1906 marked the first meeting of parliament, who immediately gave themselves the right to make a constitution, thereby becoming a Constitutional Assembly. The Shah was getting old and sick, however, and the his son, Muhammed Ali, was not privy to constitutionalism. Therefore they had to work fast, and by December 31, 1906 the Shah signed the constitution, modeled primarily from the Belgian Constitution. The Shah was from there on "under the rule of law, and the crown became a divine gift given to the Shah by the people. Mozafaredeen Shah died five days later.

فرامرز اصلانی "در سکوتی مانده بودم ناامید"،" از انقلاب مشروطه تا حال"



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