By: Mir M.Hosseini
In 1924, the ministry of common wealth announced that all Qajar decrees related to mining should be registered and approved, otherwise they would be invalid. 23 decrees were presented of which only the one signed by Naseroddin Shah in 1880 was approved. This raised suspicion among people for there was an agreement made on Jan, 27, 1916 between prime minister Mohammad Valikhan Khalatbari aka Sepahsalar Azam and Akaky Mededievitch Khoshtaria, a suspicious Russian national who presented himself as an entrepreuner however he was working for the Russian bank of loans. This agreement gave him the right to exploration of petroleum in some provinces in northern Iran for 99 years. Khoshtaria also succeeded in obtaining same rights in Guilan and Mazandaran for 7 years. Because he was a foreign national, these agreements had to be ratified by the parliament, however the cabinet of Semsamossaltaneh voided the agreement.
After the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, the Soviets called all such treaties and agreements invalid. Khoshtaria argued that he was a citizen of Georgia and the Soviet decision did not interest him, thus he tried to find a client to sell his rights. Finally, the Anglo-Persian oil company bought the papers which included Naseroddin Shah's original decree for 100,000 Sterlings and agreed to grant some shares to him in case a company was formed based on it.
Based on the 1880 decree, a company was registered on Dec, 5, 1925 in which Russians held most of the shares. The British were displeased with the situation but chose to remain silent because they did not want to jeopardise their own infamous D'Arcy agreement. Somehow, none of the wells that were constructed in a hurry before parliament approval gave desired results and Russian engineers left the country soon after and left the wells behind.