Reza Khan's Marriage and Mature Life

  June 12, 2022   Read time 3 min
Reza Khan's Marriage and Mature Life
About 1903 Reza Khan married Tajmah, a girl from Hamadan, from whom a daughter Fatemeh, later known as Hamdam al Saltaneh, was born. He divorced Tajmah soon after the birth of Fatemeh and her name was rarely mentioned thereafter. 

In 1916 he married Nimtaj (Taj al Molouk). the eldest daughter of Teimour Khan (Ayromlou), a Brigadier General in the regular army whose family had come to Iran from the Caucasus. (Many Iranian families left the Caucasus and emigrated to Iran proper in 1828, after the RussoPersian War). Taj al Molouk gave birth to four children including the Crown Prince. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. In 1922 Reza Khan married a third time to Turan (Qamar al Molouk) Amir Soleymani, the daughter of Issa Majd al Saltaneh and grand-daughter of Mehdi Qoli Majd al Dowleh, one of the most respected and prominent men of his day. From this marriage a son was bom . Reza Khan divorced her in 1923. Reza Khan’s last wife was Esmat Dowlatshahi, the daughter of a Qajar Prince Mojalal al Dowleh, whom he married in 1923. From this marriage four sons and a daughter were born.

From early 1918 we have more information about Reza Khan. In that year he rose from an obscure military officer to catch the attention of the higher levels of the Iranian Government and the British Legation. Probably the most important contributing factor was his role in the removal of Col. Clerge, the commander of the Cossack Division recently appointed by Kerensky. Reza Khan joined the conspiracy organised by Starosselsky, the deputy commander, to oust Clerge from his command. Clerge was accused, probably falsely, of pro-Bolshevik sympathies by his subordinate Russian officers. Reza Khan’s motives in this episode are not entirely dear. As a patriot he was surely disturbed by the rebellions and secessionist movements in northern Iran openly supported by the Bolsheviks.

He was therefore amenable to accepting Starosselsky’s accusations against Clerge. More importantly, as an ambitious officer Reza Khan was probably promised advancement if he threw in his lot with Starosselsky. That Reza Khan played a prominent, if not the dedsive, role in the ousting of Clerge is unquestioned. The newspaper Ra'ad in January 1918 refered to a Col. Reza Khan as having been one of the major participants in the events surrounding the removal of Cleige. The article stated that a Col. Filartov, the Commander of the Cossacks in Hamadan, together with Col. Reza Khan, the ranking Iranian officer in the Hamadan Cossack Brigade, ousted Clerge from his command. Bahar has stated that at the time his own newspaper referred to Reza Khan’s role in the inddent. British Foreign Office documents also mention Reza Khan’s involvement. Other British sources confirm this and even speak of Reza Khan having been involved in ‘other plots’ in addition to the Clerge affair. There is, however, no elaboration of the ‘other plots’.

The immediate reward for having supported Starosselsky to become the new commander of the Cossacks appears to have been Reza Khan’s promotion to the rank of Brigadier General in mid 1918. The m atter of Reza Khan's rank and promotions from 1918 to the eve of the coup in February 1921 is cloudy. Arfa states that Reza Khan was promoted to Brigadier General immediately after the removal of Clerge as part of the bargain with Starosselsky. Bahar m aintains that in September 1920 Reza Khan signed documents as Reza Sartip (Brig. Gen. Reza). The very few British Foreign Office and War Office documents that make mention of Reza Khan before the coup do so mostly as Colonel. Ironside in his Diaries is indifferent to the rank of Reza Khan and refers to him by various ranks but never as a Brigadier General.

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