The Qajar Dynasty, World War I and Its Aftermath
Majlis, military control, Iranian government, Ottoman Empire, neutrality
During World War I (1914-1918), Britain and Russia, who were allies, launched attacks from Iran against the Ottoman Empire, which was allied with Germany. Although Iran proclaimed neutrality in the war, several battles were fought in western Iran between Russian and Ottoman forces. These battles destroyed many villages, killed several hundred Iranian civilians, and caused near-famine conditions that probably caused the death of several thousand more. The inability of the Iranian government to protect the country provoked rebellions and autonomy movements in northern Iran between 1915 and 1921.
Meanwhile, in 1919 Britain induced the Iranian prime minister to sign a treaty giving Britain substantial political, economic, and military control over Iran. This agreement would have made Iran a virtual protectorate of Britain, and it aroused the anger of Iranian nationalists. Opposition to the treaty in newspapers and popular demonstrations dissuaded successive governments from submitting it to the Majlis for ratification. By 1921 both Britain and Iran had let the draft treaty quietly die.
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