Partition of Persia

  December 15, 2021   Read time 2 min
Partition of Persia
Reconciliation of such conflicting interests could pay off for Russia in two important ways. First, it would remove a dangerous source of trouble with Great Britain at a time when Russia needed long years of peace to recover from the effects of its war with Japan.

The Crimean War and the Penjdeh incident which nearly led to war between Russia and Great Britain in 1885 were still fresh memories. Second, an understanding with Great Britain might allow Russia to adopt an even more expansionist policy in the Middle East after having been checkmated in the Far East.

Official negotiations began in June 1906 and lasted for fifteen months, leading to the signing of the convention on August 31, 1907. “While the Anglo-French Treaty of 1904 included the world in its embrace, the Anglo-Russian Treaty was confined to Persia, Afghanistan and Tibet, for it was in the Middle East alone that friction remained.“ “Thus the Pact of 1907, though more limited in scope than that of 1904, achieved a similar result by cleaning off the slate the causes of antagonism between the two historic rivals.”

The provisions of the convention in regard to Iran amounted to de facto partition of the country, although the preamble contained the customary sanctimonious reference to the preservation of Iran’s integrity and independence. After stating that Great Britain and Russia had mutually engaged to respect the integrity and independence of Iran, the convention went on to divide the country into spheres of influence. Because Anglo-Russian penetration of Iran had been accomplished chiefly by means of concessions, spheres of influence were allotted by reference to the concessions that the two powers allowed each other to obtain in certain areas. The major provisions of the convention were as follows:

1) British Sphere: Great Britain would not seek for itself, or support in favor of British or third-power subjects, any commercial or political concessions beyond a line from Qasir-i Shirin, passing through Isfahan, Yazd, Kakhk, and ending at a point on the Iranian frontier at the intersection of the Russian and Afghan frontiers. The places mentioned were excluded from the British sphere.

2) Russian Sphere : Similarly Russia undertook not to seek commercial or political concessions beyond a line going from the Afghan frontier by way of Gazik, Birjand, Kerman, and ending at Bandar Abbas. The places mentioned were excluded from the Russian sphere.

3) Neutral Zone : Great Britain and Russia undertook reciprocally not to seek any kind of concessions in the zone situated between their spheres.”

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