By: Mir M.Hosseini
In 1919, Iranian Prime Minister Vosooghoddoleh secretly signed a treaty with Britain that gave the colonist state exclusive rights over Iran’s transportation, military and financial institutions. When the deal with Britain was finally revealed, on top of similar concessions to Russians, waves of protest spread throughout Iran.
Sheikh Mohammad Khiabani was a revolutionary cleric who struggled for Constitutional Monarchy and opposed the treaty, charging that the government officials were bribed. He staged an uprising in Tabriz on . He quickly found support from people who took arms against the Vosooghoddoleh government. Einoddoleh who had been the governor of Tabriz since Sep, 1908, tried to soothe the rebels but the Khiabani did not agree to undergo another heinous agreement that would led to further colonization of the country.
On June, 24, 1920, Khiabani and his followers took over state offices in Tabriz. Einoddoleh and the Qajar royal family fled the city. Other cities in Azerbaijan joined the uprising one by one until the cabinet of Vosooghoddoleh was forced to resign. The next Prime Minister, Moshiroddoleh appointed Mokhberosaltaneh as the new governor of Tabriz who took off with Cossack forces to suppress the uprising. On Sep, 13, a battle took place between the two sides in which Sheikh Mohammad Khiabani was killed.
The government later claimed that Khiabani committed suicide after his forces came under siege, in order that he would not gain the title of a martyr. According to the state propaganda, Khiabani was a separatist leader who had already changed the name of Azerbaijan to Azadistan.
Nevertheless, in his last speech Khiabani asked for democracy for all of Iran asserting that in this path, the last step would be death which he’d embrace dearly instead of living in shame.