Iranian Republic
Iran (SwHF).svg Coat of arms of Iran (SwHF).png
Year of foundation 1953
Official language Farsi
Form of government Presidential-parliamentary republic
Head of State See: List of Iranian Presidents
Capital Tehran
Religion Secular state
Area 1 648 195 км²
Population 33 700 000 inhabitants
Currency Rial
Iran SwHF.png

The Iranian Republic (Persian: Jomhwra Aaran), abbreviated as Iran (Persian; Aaran), is a state in Western Asia, washed by the waters of the Persian and Oman Gulfs in the south and the Caspian Sea in the north. It was formed as a result of the Republican Revolution in August—October 1953, after the majority of Iranians voted for the abolition of the monarchy in a referendum on 2—3 October.

The largest cities are Tehran, Mashhad, Isfahan, Keredj, Tabriz.

State structure

The state structure of the Iranian republic is determined by the constitution, adopted by referendum on 4—5 June 1954. According to its provisions, Iran is a secular democratic unitary republic with a strong presidential power. The basic law of Turkey of 1924, as well as the constitution of the USSR of 1936, served as a model for the Iranian constitution during its drafting.

Legislative power is vested in a bicameral parliament. The lower house — the National Assembly or Mejlis (Pers: Majles Šwraa Mela) consists of 270 deputies elected by popular vote in majoritarian constituencies for a 4—year term. The functions of the Mejlis include the adoption of laws, the ratification of international agreements, the approval and provision of state or international loans, the approval of the head of government on the proposal of the president, the adoption of the budget, etc. The Upper House — the Senate (Pers: Majles Sena) includes 2 representatives each from every province of Iran.

The head of state is the President (Pers. R'eas Jomhwra Aaran), elected by popular vote for a 4-year term with a one-time re-election right. As an exception, a special article of the constitution allows the first president of Iran to be elected to office an unlimited number of times. The President is the supreme commander in chief of the country's armed forces, single—handedly determines foreign and domestic policies, appoints the heads of the security agencies and, at the suggestion of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, heads of provinces. In addition, the president submits to the Mejlis the candidacy of the Prime Minister (Persian: Nakhostwzar Jomhwra Aaran) — the Head of Government (Persian: Nezam Jomhwra Aaran), who, after approval by the majority of deputies, in agreement with the president, appoints ministers and high officials. The prime minister and ministers can be removed from office by giving them a constructive vote of no confidence, adopted by more than 3/4 of the votes of the deputies of the Mejlis, and to impeach the president, a decision of 3/4 of the deputies in each chamber is required. In the event that the president terminates his duties ahead of schedule, his functions are transferred to a specially convened Presidential Council (Pers. Šwraa Raast), consisting of the Prime Minister, Chairman of the Mejlis and the Head of the Supreme Court, until the new elections. The president and each member of the government, along with the deputies, have the right to submit their own bills to parliament.

Meeting of the Mejlis of the Iranian Republic

Administratively Iran is divided into Provinces or Ostanes (Pers: Astan), headed by an Ostandar-Governor appointed from the center (Pers: Astandar). Provinces, in turn, are subdivided into Oblasts or Shahrestans (Pers: Šahrestan), which are cities with an adjacent rural district. The head of the region is an appointed official, a Farmandar (Pers: Farmandar). The provinces consist of Districts or Bakhshes (Pers: Bakhš), headed by Bakhshdars (pers. Bakhšdar), and those, in turn, of cities and rural municipalities — Dekhestan (Pers: Dehestan). Iran is a fairly centralized state, practically the entire regional administrative apparatus of which is controlled by the president and the government.

Judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court (Pers: Dawan'eala kešwr), which is the highest authority for all lower courts. The members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament. In addition, the Supreme Court has the right, within 10 days after the adoption of the law by the Senate, to declare it unconstitutional — in this case, it loses its force.

List of Presidents of Iran

  National Front
Photo Name Term Party Prime Minister
1 Mossadegh.jpg Mohammad Mosaddegh
10 August 1954 5 March 1967 National Front Hossein Fatemi
Hosein Fatemi.jpg Hossein Fatemi
5 March 1967 13 August 1967 National Front
2 18 April 1967 13 August 1972 Mehdi Bazargan
Karim Sanjabi
Shapour Bakhtiar
Bakhtiar.jpg Shapour Bakhtiar
13 August 1972 26 September 1972 National Front
3 9 May 1972 Karim Sanjabi


The 15 March 1951, the Mejlis of Iran, at the suggestion of ex-minister Mohammed Mossadegh, decided to nationalize the entire Iranian oil industry — the country was engulfed in mass rallies in support of this decision, and on 28 April, Mossadegh was instructed to form a government. All property of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AINK, the future "British Petroleum") passed into the hands of the state, making the Prime Minister a hero in the eyes of millions of Iranians who felt that for the first time in a long time they could dispose of the national wealth. Against this background, the conflict between Mossadegh and Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi flared up — after Mossadegh demanded extraordinary powers for himself, the Shah dismissed him on 16 July, which provoked an outburst of popular indignation. After 5 days, the shah was forced to return Mosaddegh to the government, and on 24 February 1953, he did declare his intention to leave the country soon.

From monarchy to republic


Demonstrations in support of Mossadegh

The 27 February, the Shah was unexpectedly supported by Mossadegh's ally and Islamist leader Ayatollah Abol-Ghasem Kashani, as a result of which the ruling coalition cracked at the seams. The British and Americans, dissatisfied with the independent course of the Iranian prime minister, also expressed their readiness to support Pahlavi — on 16 April, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and ex-CIA head Walter Smith had developed a plan to overthrow Mossadegh. The operation called "Ajax" was launched in August 1953: a powerful information campaign was launched against Mossadegh, who was accused of corruption, anti-monarchist, anti-Islamic and pro-communist views. The 13 August, based on the results of the referendum, Mossadegh received the right to dissolve parliament for an indefinite period, which was used by his opponents as a pretext for a coup — on 15 August, the Shah issued a firman about the resignation of Mossadegh and the appointment of General Fazlollah Zahedi as Prime Minister, but Mossadegh was already warned of the conspiracy by Soviet intelligence through the mediation of the Tudeh Communist Party. He declared the Shah's actions unconstitutional — the streets of Tehran were covered with thousands of demonstrations demanding the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic. On the same day, Pahlavi fled to Baghdad, and from there to Rome.

The 17 August, US President Eisenhower convened an urgent meeting to discuss the situation in Iran — seeing the failure of the conspiracy, Walter Smith suggested that the president abandon Operation Ajax, noting that “despite all his shortcomings, Mossadegh does not like Russians and a timely assistance will keep him from communism. " Eisenhower was forced to agree with Smith's arguments. The 19 August, the Soviet leadership recommended the leaders of the Tudeh party to support the Mossadegh regime with all their might and not provoke popular unrest with communist slogans — on the same day an attempt to raise an uprising of religious fanatics in Tehran failed, and General Zahedi, who secretly arrived in the capital, was arrested. 

Mossadegh at the National Front rally

The 2—3 October, a referendum was held, in which 98.2% of Iranians voted for the abolition of the monarchy and the creation of a republic. The Shah was officially deprived of the crown — the powers of the head of state were transferred to Mossadegh until the presidential elections. In December, a draft constitution was published, and elections to the Iranian Constitutional Assembly were held on 5—6 February 1954. By this time, Mosaddegh had achieved the prohibition of almost all monarchist parties — the National Front, which he led, which included the liberal-socialist Iran Party, the Toilers Party, the National Party and the Third Power Party, became the main political organization in the country. The only alternative to the Front was the Communists from the Tudeh party, but on the eve of the elections they concluded an agreement with Mossadegh, agreeing on joint nomination of candidates.

As a result, the Constitutional Assembly turned out to be almost completely loyal to the government and on 18 May approved the draft constitution proposed by Mossadegh. The 4—5 June, at the referendum, 99.5% of the Iranians participating in it approved the new Basic Law, but Mossadegh did not escape a sharp decline in turnout: if in October 1953 89% of voters came to the referendum on the abolition of the monarchy, then six months later constitution — already 71%. The 30 July, in the first presidential elections held on an uncontested basis, Mossadegh, supported by all legal political forces in the country, was elected head of the republic, and on 17 September elections to the republican Mejlis of the 1st convocation were held — by this time the turnout had dropped to 52%, but however, the Supreme Court, the first composition of which was appointed solely by Mossadegh, declared them valid.

The reign of Mohammed Mossadegh

Foreign policy

Mohammed Mossadegh arrives in the Soviet Union

The first state to recognize the regime of Mossadegh was the Soviet Union, and it was with it in the first decades of the existence of the Iranian republic that it had the closest relations — on 25 June 1955, Mossadegh visited the USSR on an official two-week visit, as a result of which the Soviet-Iranian pact was concluded. in which the parties solemnly promised not to use military force against each other, as well as renounced any mutual territorial and other claims. In addition, an agreement on economic cooperation was signed between Iran and the COMECON, and a group of Soviet specialists went to Tehran to develop the Iranian oil industry. They participated in the construction of a number of facilities, discovered reserves of iron ore and coking coal deposits in Iran, the USSR also provided Mossadegh with soft loans, which were supposed to be repaid by deliveries of natural gas.

On 1958 and 1964, additional agreements were signed between the Soviet Union and Iran on cooperation in the economic and technical sphere, the construction of the Isfahan Metallurgical Combine and the Trans-Iranian Gas Pipeline, through which Iranian gas was supplied to the Transcaucasus and Western Europe. The opening of this gas pipeline allowed Iran to enter European markets and significantly enrich its economy.

Isfahan metallurgical plant

Nevertheless, Mossadegh rejected the offer to join the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, since he believed that Iran should pursue a foreign policy independent of the will of the superpowers. He was one of the initiators of the convocation of the Bandung Conference on 18—24 April 1955, at which close economic ties were established with India, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia and other developing states. Mossadegh, along with Tito, Nasser and Nehru, stood at the origins of the Non-Aligned Movement, which united in September 1961 25 states of Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Relations with the United States were initially tense — despite the fact that in the political rhetoric of Mossadegh, Britain remained the main enemy of Iran, and, on the contrary, he offered to the USA a peaceful settlement of all controversial issues, Washington invariably found itself not on Tehran's side in all international disputes: 1955, Mossadegh condemned the signing of the "Baghdad Pact" between Great Britain, Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan, calling it "an open act of aggression against the Iranian people," in 1956 he supported Egypt during the Suez Crisis and the trilateral Anglo-French-Israeli intervention, and in 1956 In 1957, he demanded that the British-controlled island of Bahrain be transferred to Iran. Eisenhower, whose relations with London in the mid-1950s were also not cloudless, tried to use anti-British sentiments in Tehran to establish contacts, however, on 27 February 1958, Iranian special services uncovered a military conspiracy against Mossadegh led by General Mohammad Wali Garani — it was established that Garani met with American diplomats in Athens, with the result that Mossadegh demanded the closure of the American embassy in Tehran.

Mossadegh in talks with the American delegation

Improving relations with the United States became possible only with the arrival of President Kennedy in the White House, whom Mossadegh considered a more acceptable candidate than the Republicans Eisenhower and Nixon. The 24 July 1961, a trade mission of Israel was opened in Tehran — this step, which was perceived extremely ambiguously in the Muslim world, since it meant the actual recognition of Israel, was regarded by Washington as Tehran's readiness to begin rapprochement. The 14 December, American-Iranian diplomatic relations were restored, severed due to the Garani conspiracy, and negotiations between Mossadegh and the new US Ambassador Julius Holmes were held, and in April 1962, Kennedy arrived in Tehran. His visit, however, was overshadowed by massive anti-American demonstrations organized by the Tudeh party, which prevented a confidential conversation between the two presidents - Iran continued its independent course in foreign policy. Perhaps the only positive outcome of Kennedy's visit was the discharge from New York of a group of high-class American doctors to treat Mossadegh.

In the 1960s, Iran is building up cooperation with European countries, primarily with France, whose leader, General Charles de Gaulle, sought to pursue a foreign policy as independent of Washington as possible, as well as with Germany. Of the social bloc countries, in addition to the Soviet Union, the closest relations developed with Romania, which had surplus capacities for the production of oil-extracting equipment. Mosaddegh hoped to make Iran the leader of Asia Minor, completely subjugating the "kerosene barrel" of the planet — the Persian Gulf, which would put the world capitalist economy in a certain dependence on Tehran. The military expenditures of the Iranian republic from 1954 to 1967 increased 20 times, the world's strongest hovercraft fleet was created, the most advanced air defense missile system in the Third World, and Iran surpassed all NATO members except the United States in terms of the number of its air forces. The Mosaddegh government even hatched plans for the development of atomic energy, but in this it met with sharp opposition from Moscow.

Iranian paratroopers on exercises

Such colossal expenses, despite the often disinterested assistance of the USSR, almost led to serious problems in the Iranian economy, and Mossadegh's sponsoring of the national liberation movement in the British colonies on the Persian Gulf coast — Qatar, Bahrain and Oman — caused a cooling of relations with another contender for hegemony in the region — Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Economic development

After the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry, Britain declared a naval blockade of Abadan, an oil production center on the Persian Gulf coast. Since 1952, the British seized all tankers carrying Iranian oil, which almost led to a complete cessation of its export, and it was only thanks to the help of the Soviet Union that the government of Mossadegh began to receive a stable income from the sale of oil, thanks to which it had the funds to carry out a large-scale industrialization program.

On the model of the USSR, the first five-year economic development plan was adopted in 1954, which provided for the nationalization of all forests and pastures in order to prevent their destruction, nationalization of water resources, the construction of power plants and hydroelectric facilities, irrigation and the creation of green areas around cities and along highways belts . The 26 January 1955, Mossadegh announced a program to completely eliminate feudalism — the government bought out all the land in the hands of the feudal lords and sold it to the peasants at a price 30% lower than the market price, and buyers were provided with a 25-year installment plan at a very low interest rate. As a result, 1.5 million peasant families received ownership of the land they cultivated. The Ministry of Reconstruction and Development was formed, which was engaged in training peasants in modern methods of farming and handling the latest technology. From 1956 to 1965, the output of the Iranian agricultural sector increased by 80% in tonnage and 67% in value. In addition, the Ministry of Reconstruction and Development was engaged in the construction of public baths, libraries, schools, laying water pipes and supplying the population with electricity.

Oil refineries in Abadan

In the 1950s, Iran's economy took a big step forward — port facilities were modernized, the Trans-Iranian Railway was expanded, new highways were laid, many small factories were opened specializing in the production of clothing, food, cement, tiles, paper and household appliances. Large enterprises for the production of textiles, machine tools and car assembly were also opened.

However, by the early 1960s, problems in the Iranian economy became apparent — the rates of nominal economic growth and per capita incomes began to decline. As a result, Mossadegh was forced to carry out a partial privatization of unprofitable enterprises, whose shares were sold to the population, including the former feudal lords. Specialized banks were created for lending to medium and large private manufacturing enterprises. Not limited to concessional loans, the government has also provided a wide range of incentives to encourage investment in new industries, primarily from national businesses. Mossadegh even announced that he sees nothing wrong if foreign companies appear in the Iranian market, but the half-hearted result from negotiations with the United States has led only to a limited inflow of funds from abroad.

In order to raise the standard of living of the population, the government adopted a decree on "profit sharing" — 1/5 of the profit of an enterprise of both the public and private sectors since 1962 was divided between the workers and employees of this enterprise. In addition, to stimulate productivity growth, workers received bonuses to wages if they managed to achieve a reduction in costs or an increase in output. In 1963, Mossadegh proposed to turn all employees of enterprises into shareholders of these enterprises — a law was passed according to which 99% of shares in state-owned companies and 49% of shares in private sector companies that have existed for more than 5 years were to be sold to their employees, and in the case , if the number of shares exceeds the number of employees, then also to the general population.

Mossadegh on the cover of Time magazine

By the end of Mossadegh's reign, the country's gross national product had grown by 13.2% annually, and the oil, gas and construction industries grew by almost 500% from 1953 to 1967. The total number of the two classes — the intelligentsia and urban workers — has almost quadrupled, and women began to be actively involved in industry.

Internal contradictions

Mossadegh saw Iran as a Westernized secular state, but his modernization program was hampered by the low level of education of most Iranians and the sharply negative attitude of the clergy, who campaigned against the republic. The reaction to the anti-government position of the clergy was the proclamation by Mossadegh of a large-scale program of reforms in the cultural sphere — in 10 April 1958, the 2nd article was excluded from the constitution, which said that "the religion of the Iranian state is Islam", in 1 November 1961, the Iranian alphabet was translated into Latin alphabet, in 10 December 1961, the suffrage was granted to women, and subsequently they were given the opportunity to occupy the posts of officials, lawyers, and judges. The Ministry of Education was created, which was entrusted with the implementation of educational reform — secondary education became free and compulsory, the curriculum was largely copied from the Soviet one, public schools became free and accessible to all segments of the population, the state guaranteed free meals to schoolchildren and preschoolers, in 1967 about 100 000 Iranian students studied abroad, primarily in the USSR. The number of students increased 2.5 times, reaching 5 million by the end of Mossadegh's rule. The share of literate people in 13 years has increased from 26% to 42%.

Mossadegh’s relations with the clergy were deteriorating all the time — his leaders, Ayatollah Kashani, and after his death in 1962 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, criticized the government for carrying out secularization, granting women suffrage, negative consequences of land reform and connivance with religious minorities — Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, Bahá'ís, who, for example, were allowed to take an oath on their own sacred books instead of the Koran. However, Mossadegh also had supporters among Shiite theologians — for example, Ayatollah Mohammad Kazem Shariatmadari, who supported the course of rapprochement with the Soviet Union, or Mahmoud Teleghani, who was ideologically close to the Tudeh party and defended the principle of collective ownership.

Iranian women at a polling station

In addition to education, health care also developed — the main problem was the provision of medical care to the rural population, for which in 1955-1957 more than 4500 medical groups were trained, thanks to which 10 million people were able to afford free treatment. In 1965, a social insurance system was introduced, each citizen was guaranteed pension payments in the amount of up to 100% of wages upon retirement, maximum restrictions on prices for housing and real estate were introduced, and food was distributed free of charge to mothers and newborns in need.

Despite the generally successful course and the growth in the well-being of the population, the reforms of Mossadegh also had negative consequences. The land reform, for example, putting an end to feudal land tenure led to an increase in social stratification in the countryside — about half of the peasants did not receive land or very quickly lost it, turning into farm laborers or shepherds, while the majority of the allotments did not exceed 10 hectares. In reality, only a narrow layer of well-to-do farmers, mainly former village heads, bailiffs and some landowners, benefited from the reform. Dissatisfaction with the results of the reforms led to the breakdown of the coalition between the National Front and the Tudeh party - the opposition candidate, communist Reza Radmanesh, took part in the 1962 presidential elections for the first time. He received less than 10% of the vote, but this was enough for Mossadegh to begin repressions against his former allies — the Ministry of Information and Security (Pers: Wezarat Atla'eat w Amnat Jomhwra - WAWAJ) was created in 1958 as a response to the conspiracy of General Garani, about 400 Communist Party activists were arrested. This step, taken on the eve of Kennedy's visit and designed to demonstrate Mossadegh's readiness for rapprochement with the United States, led to a cooling of Soviet-Iranian relations, but later most of those arrested were released. The Soviet government turned a blind eye to this incident, as it had already done with regard to Nasser, who also persecuted the communists, but the events of 1962 became an alarming signal that Iran could turn from an ally into an enemy.

Hosein Fatemi's reign

To be continued...


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