Chaos Engulfs the Country: East-West Streit

  January 30, 2022   Read time 2 min
Chaos Engulfs the Country: East-West Streit
On July 18, 1911, the ex-Shah embarked, with a group of supporters and munitions of war, on the Russian steamer Christojoros at a Russian port just north of Baku and, crossing the Caspian Sea, landed at Gumesh-Tappeh.

His “filibustering expedition to regain the throne of Persia was not only known in the highest circles of the Russian government but also it was well known throughout the entire bureaucracy of that country." Sir Edward Grey at first was “thoroughly roused,” stating, “I do not see how we or Russia can acquiesce in his [the ex-Shah's] return.” But in this instance, as in the Stokes crisis, its interest in keeping the Convention of 1907 alive restrained Great Britain from raising serious objections to the ex-Shah's return. In a “colorless communication” Great Britain, joined by Russia, declared that since the ex-Shah was in Iranian territory they could not interfere.

The ex-Shah and his brothers, Shuâ al-Saltanah and Sàlâr al-Dawlah, launched attacks on government forces with the object of capturing Tehran. Arshad al-Dawlah, “the bravest general” of the ex-Shah, defeated government troops at Damghan northeast of Tehran, on August 8, 1911, but soon the latter won a significant victory at Firuzkuh, in the mountains northeast of Tehran. By August 28 the general had advanced along the road to Tehran as far as Ayvan Kayf, where he defeated the government forces for the second time. However, when he and his men were about forty miles from the capital, the nationalist forces, under the command of Ephraim Khän, attacked and defeated them, subsequently capturing Arshad al-Dawlah, who later faced the firing squad in punishment for his rebellion. By the early part of October 1911 the ex-Shah and his brothers were in flight and their forces completely shattered.

Soon a new crisis developed. This provided Russia with a propitious opportunity to deal its fourth and fatal blow to the Constitutional regime. In October 1911 the government decided to confiscate and seize the estates and property of the rebellious brothers of the ex-Shah. Shuster was ordered to carry out the decision and take over the properties in the name of the Treasury. The principal estate was the park and palace of Prince Shu*ä al-Saltanah. While attempting to seize this palace in Tehran, Shuster's agents were driven off by officers of the Russian Consulate and armed Cossacks, who threatened to fire on them if they did not leave the estate. “I feel sure,” wrote Shuster to S. Poklewski-Koziell, the Russian Minister, “that your Excellency will recognize that this action by your consular officers is wholly unwarranted and unlawful.”

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