5 days after Nazi Germany's invasion into Soviets, Iran declared it's neutrality in the WWII. The Soviet government declared it's satisfaction from this decision. Reza Shah of Iran also asked Germany to evacuate extra citizens from Iran so that there would be no pretext. However, one month later the Soviets and the British troops started their invasion into Iran's soil from several points.
Rashid Ali Gilani 's uprising in Iraq was just suppressed by the British forces on June, 3, 1941. Rashid then fled to Iran together with some Germans who had helped him stage the coup in Baghdad. When intelligence came that he contacted the Italian and German embassies in Tehran, it rang a bell because those Germans living in Russia also had fled to Iran after the war started. As a matter of fact, securing Iraq was a key step for succeeding in occupying Iran. (Updated: Oct, 27, 2008)
In a last effort to assure Iran's neutrality in war, the Ettelaat Newspaper gave the statistics of foreign nationals in Iran as follows; 2590 British, 390 Soviets, 690 Germans, 310 Italians, 180 Czechoslovakians, 70 Swiss, 260 Greece and 140 Yugoslavians.
The official paper depicted that Iran needed technical people for its developments and despite an increase in the number of Iranian engineers and experts, foreign technicians were also necessary. Reza Shah did not want to expel Germans resisting constant pressure from USSR and UK.
Both Soviets and Britain were suspicious of activities of Germans in Iran, the experience from the Fifth Column in Belgium added to their fear. On Aug, 1, 1941, France Presse reported that the Nazi Fifth Column was active in Iran and Afghanistan and were engaged in military missions inside neighboring countries, thus increasing the fear. One way or the other, with the newly constructed trans-Iranian railway Iran was a great supply route which could not be ignored. Both the Russian and British influence in Iran was to the extent that Iran surrendered without any resistance, betrayed by her own top generals. (Updated: Dec, 9, 2008)
The Red Army of USSR was stuck at the Jolfa Bridge on the Aras River. In the midst of the World War II, during the invasion of Iran by Allied Powers, while any resistance would be crushed brutally, three Iranian border guards did not yield to the Soviet invaders and did not permit them to cross the 110m long bridge that connects Nakhjevan to Jolfa.
The Iranian guards were aware that the invading army could not use artillery because they needed the strategic bridge for transfer of supplies and troops. Without a doubt, every piece of the Iranian soil has been irrigated by bloods of martyrs defending their nation against invaders throughout the history but these three brave soldiers are remembered alongside many unknown patriots who lost their lives:
Seyyed Mohammad Rayi Hashemi, Abdollah Shahriari, and Malek Mohammadi fought the Soviet soldiers till the last drop of their blood. They successfully stopped the occupation forces for two days until they ran out of munitions and were killed.
Though Iran was officially neutral, the invasion from August 25 to September 17, 1941 by Allied Powers was an undeclared surprise attack, described by Allied forces as rapid and conducted with ease.
the Soviets invaded from the north, mostly from Transcaucasia, with their 44th, 47th and 53rd Armies of the Transcaucasian Front, occupying Iran's northern provinces. Air force and naval units also participated in the battle. In response to the invasion, the Iranian Army mobilized nine infantry divisions. Reza Shah appealed to US President Franklin Roosevelt under the Atlantic Charter, However, this plea failed to prompt a response from the US President to prevent the invasion of Iran.
Without any military allies able to come to its assistance, Iranian resistance was rapidly overwhelmed and neutralized by Soviet and British tanks and infantry. Iran was defeated, the oilfields taken and the valuable Trans-Iranian Railway was in Allied hands.
In 2009, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that his country suffered during the invasions during World War II, and that he would stand to the end to get full compensation. This underlines the fact that the Iranian suffering was real and documented but not well publicized as the Holocaust. (Updated: Sep, 20, 2011)
Despite the fact that Iran had declared it's neutrality during the World War II, Britain and Soviets started their invasion into Iran. Two weeks before, Britain's minister Reader Bullard and Soviet ambassador Smirnov handed the Iranian Foreign Office an ultimatum signed by both their Governments demanding Iran to get rid of Germans or face the consequences.
The English had been doing preparations by sending Indian troops to Iraq and deploying forces to Iran's south east area. British media had started a campaign against Reza Shah accusing him of pro-Nazi tendencies. Britain and Russia worked together. A British column marched into Iran from Iraq, while more troops were preparing to land at Bandar Shapour. The Russian army invaded Iran from Armenia. Indian forces joined the attack from the east on the border of Baluchestan.
Iranian Premier Rajabali Mansour told the Parliament: "We have taken all necessary measures to face this attack." While Iran was preparing for resistance by calling reserves to the military service a surprising event happened. Two Iranian generals ordered evacuation of military bases and Iran simply surrendered. Red army's western column rapidly took Tabriz; their eastern wing took the port of Bandar Shah. The British crossed from Iraq and took control of the richest single oil field in existence. Iran's small sloops were no match for the royal navy and Indian troops landed at Bandar Shapour.
For 20 long years Reza Shah had played with London, played with Moscow and never lost a trick and he never could imagine these two irreconcilables standing shoulder-to-shoulder on the soil of his beloved Iran. Descending from an Army-officer family, the Shah was born in 1876 in Firoozkooh. Taking advantage of the chaos in Iran, on Feb. 21, 1921, Colonel Reza Khan rode into Tehran at the head of 2,000 Persian Cossacks and took over.
The last Qajar king, Ahmad Shah had left the country with an empty treasury for France. Iran had no army, no roads, boiling with corruption, ignorance and disease. Reza Shah modernized the army and restored order, overthrew rebel chieftains, stripped the clerics of their judicial and political powers, drew up a code of civil law, banned child marriage by raising to 15 the age at which a girl might marry, fostered education, set up schools and colleges. He followed the model in Turkey to modernize the country thus improving agriculture, public health, transportation and fomented trade and industry with all his being. He thus got Iran up to its feet. Probably, his greatest accomplishment was the trans-Iranian railroad, which took eleven years to build and runs from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian sea.
On the other hand, he was a fearsome dictator who murdered, tortured, kidnapped, imprisoned all dissidents, turning Iran into a one man corporative state. His greed for power and property made him more enemies than friends.
He took brave steps against British Imperialism: In 1931 he forbade Imperial Airways to fly over Iranian territory and cancelled the obnoxious D'Arcy contract which supposedly gave Iran only 16% of profits from the oil industry.
When the tables turned, he was no more than a prisoner of war whose destiny was to die in exile. (Updated: Jul, 29, 2008)
Reza Shah summoned Russian and British ambassadors on Aug, 25 as he heard their advance on the Iranian soil. He expressed his disappointment over such shocking action. He pretended to be unaware of the events that led to this attack. After the meeting Reza Shah asked Prime Minister Rajabali Mansour to explain the situation to the parliament. A escape goat was needed and Mansour who was accused of having sympathy towards Germans presented his resignation.
There's no doubt that Iranians had became tired of being exploited by the British and Russians for many years and saw the war as an opportunity to get rid of them. But miscalculations were made and Germany did not succeed in bringing down the U.S.S.R in time. On June, 22, 1941, the German army had started an attack on a front that stretched from the Black sea to the Baltic sea and many people had no doubt about Germany's victory.
The Allied Powers however occupied Iran for several reasons such as:
- Sending supplies to U.S.S.R. through a secure passage.
- Protecting the oil resources and preventing Germans from accessing them.
- Creating a buffer to protect India.
Among other reasons, Iranians obviously viewed Russians and British their long time enemy and there was always a chance that the country could turn against them. Dismissing Rajabali Mansour was one of primary conditions the occupiers set forth. After a briefing at the parliament , PM Mansour announced his resignation on Wednesday Aug, 27. Mohammad Ali Foroughi was then appointed as Prime Minister and his cabinet was approved the next day. Reza Shah was doing his best to stay in power, however he was no longer wanted. (Updated: Feb, 11, 2009)
Reza Shah signs his resignation letter prepared by PM Foroughi in which he declared that due to his age, he though that a younger person, namely his son would be better for the job. In fact neither the British nor the Soviets wanted him because of his tendencies towards Germans. The B.B.C. radio had started a propaganda campaign against the Shah. In daily broadcasts he was pictured as a dictator who treated people with contempt, who did not pay attention to agriculture and that he seized people's property by force.
Foroughi personally went to both British and Soviet embassies to show the letter. The English ambassador replied that he was OK with Reza Shah's resignation but for his son Mohammad Reza as the new Shah, he had to get approval from London.
Majlis briefly ratified Reza Shah's resignation after which he left Tehran for Isfahan. This swiftness somehow got the British by surprise and although the reply which came from London three days later opposed Mohammad Reza's reign, it was just too late and the British ambassador notified London of possible chaos.
After Isfahan, Reza Pahlavi went to Yazd, then Kerman and finally Bandar Abbas where boarded a ship that took him to the Maurice Island. In several letters to his son, the deposed Shah expressed his unhappiness with his situation and that he proffered death. In September 1942, he was taken to Johannesburg in South Africa where he stayed for 22 months. He finally died of a heart attack on the morning of July, 26, 1944. (Updated: Dec, 9, 2008)
Following British and Russian occupation, Iran was forced to cuts ties With axis nations including Bulgaria, Italy, Romania and Hungary. Although the two states had guaranteed Iran's sovereignty, in threatening notes to the Iranian ministry of foreign affairs such illegitimate requests were made. The Ettelaat Newspaper announced public regret and discontent. In an article published on Sep, 10, 1941, the semi-official newspaper emphasizes on Iran's will to continue economic relationships with Germany and Italy and despite the fact that Iran was forced to close their embassies in Tehran, people were willing to continue relationships. The paper also said that Iran's embassy in the mentioned countries will continue operation.
Iran officially cut ties with Italy, Hungary, and Romania on Sep, 16, 1941 and fourteen employees of the Bulgarian embassy left Tehran on Sep, 17.
The article however drew an ire in British and Russian media as it's translation in Arabic, Turkish, French, German and English was read on Iran's public radio. The occupation forces that sought a pretext to depose Reza Shah, reached Tehran on Sep, 15 and simultaneously took over military headquarters in the city. Appearance of occupation forces specially the Red Army in the capital created shock among citizens. This was mixed with sensations of fear and contempt which were on top of elements that discredited the English in Iran forever. Shortage of bread, sugar and other essentials added to public hatred in such a way that it has become part of Iranian culture; The English is behind whatever goes wrong. (Updated: Feb, 13, 2009)
According to many historians, Anschluss in 1938 was the event that triggered the WWII. However, the world history covering WWII is full of bias and lies mostly for justification of injustice; such as apartheid in occupied Palestinian lands in broad daylight.
Germans were playing a very crucial and balancing role against British and Russian hegemony. Shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the Czarist Russia was practically replaced by avaricious USSR, while Iran's political system was transforming from Despotism to Constitutional Monarchy. Although Reza Shah gradually became a greedy dictator, he succeeded in improving infrastructural sector of the economy with help from some friendly states, specially Germany. He was playing the German card wisely until the Allied Powers invaded Iran on August, 25, 1941 without warning, despite Iran's declaration of neutrality; Iran is not Switzerland.
Reza Shah exhausted all diplomatic channels. He even installed anglophile Mohammad Ali Foroughi as Prime Minister to open doors for negotiations; an attempt which proved futile. On Aug, 28, 1941, the Shah ordered his troops to stop resistance after his top generals defected. Right after the occupation forces demanded deportation of German nationals, they changed their mind and asked Iran to handle them to Allied Powers. Reza Shah rejected this absurd request which is against Iranian hospitality. On Sep, 10, the invading forces gave Iran an ultimatum, ordering Iran to close embassies of Germany, Italy, Romania and Hungary and hand over their nationals. They gave Iran 48 hours, otherwise threatened to occupy Tehran. Reza Shah did not answer the call. He had been busy creating a safe passage for foreign nationals to leave the country.
Two days after Reza Shah submitted his resignation from power in favor of his son, the German ambassador Erwin Ettl, with the rest of embassy staff including 58 men, 274 women, and 136 children reached the Turkish border on September, 18, 1941. Little is known about the fate of all the fugitives afterwards, After the end of WWII, Erwin Ettl started living under a fake identity and wrote 400 articles in Die Zeit, a weekly political newspaper between 1950-1956. He remained a Nazi for the rest of his life and died in 1971.
Filled with grudge and hatred, the British took Reza Shah into custody and transferred him to Isfahan, then to Bandar Abbas and then to the Maurice Island. He fell sick after a while and on March, 27, 1942, he was taken on his last journey to Johannesburg in South Africa. (Updated: Apr, 16, 2010)
After Mansour's resignation, Foroughi was appointed Prime Minister on Aug, 27, 1941. However, after Reza Shah resigned on Sep, 16th, he submitted his own resignation the next day. No one else was found to accept this duty. The new king Mohammad Reza Pahlavi chose him as prime minister again to present his cabinet to the Majlis on Sep, 21.
Majlis approved his cabinet on Sep, 23. Foroughi had to deal with several hard issues in his term while Iran was under occupation. Food was scarce and public discontent was on the rise. The Iranian army was actually dissolved and the Soviets actually took control of northern Iran creating a buffer zone that included 5 major provinces of Khorasan, Gorgan, Mazandaran, Gilan, and Azerbaijan.
Nevertheless, during Foroughi's term he inaugurated the Tehran-Qazvin railroad, also Iran's 12th Majlis thus approved a total of four cabinet of ministers during its term. (Updated: Nov, 9, 2012)
The 13th Majlis term started on Nov, 13, 1941.
Iran was under occupation and the thirteenth term coincided with the Tehran Conference attended by the head of states of U.K., U.S.S.R. and U.S., where the territorial integrity and political independence of Iran was guaranteed.
Among important legislations in this period were:
- Permission to employ Dr. Millspaugh as the head of Treasury.
- Amendments to Press Law.
- Resolution to declare war against the Germany.
Majlis 13th term ended on Nov, 23, 1943. (Updated: Aug, 15, 2009)
6 months after Allied Powers entered Iran, Foroughi presented his new cabinet of ministers to the parliament. The surprise person proposed in charge of ministry of war was no one but Col. Ahmad Nakhjevan, an army general who had dismissed all soldiers from garrisons right after enemy forces entered Iran and Reza Shah had given orders to prepare for resistence. Such treacherous people were in charge of the government with Reza Shah's son as the new puppet king for Britain. According to witnesses, after hearing this act of treason, Reza Shah had beaten Nakhjevan and had taken away his military badges and sent him to prison to be tried for treason. (Updated: Nov, 17, 2008)
- Mohammad Ali Foroughi : محمد علي فروغي(Zoka-ol-Molk) محمدعلي فروغي ذكاءالملك
- Trans-Iranian Railway : راه آهن سراسري ايران
- Mahmoud Ahmadinejad : محمود احمدي نژاد(Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) دکتر محمود احمدي نژاد
- Franklin Roosevelt : فرانکلين دلانو روزولت(Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
- Ettelaat Newspaper : روزنامه اطلاعات
- Tehran Conference : کنفرانس تهران
- Rashid Ali Gilani : رشيد عالي گيلاني
- Rajabali Mansour : رجبعلي منصور(Mansurolmolk)
- Ahmad Nakhjevan : احمد نخجوان(Col. Ahmad Khan Nakhjavan) تيمسار سرلشکر خلبان احمدخان نخجوان
- Maurice Island : چزيره موريس(Morris Island, Island of Mauritius)
- Prime Minister : نخست وزير رئيس الوزرا
- Dr. Millspaugh : دکتر ميليسپو(Arthur Chester Millspaugh) دکتر آرتور ميلسپو
- Reader Bullard : ريدر بولارد
- Allied Powers : متفقين(Allies,Aliied Forces)
- Transcaucasia : قفقاز جنوبي
- Johannesburg : ژوهانسبورگ
- South Africa : افريقاي جنوبي
- World War II : جنگ جهاني دوم(Second World War)
- Persian Gulf : خليج فارس کَنداب پارس
- Reza Pahlavi : رضا پهلوي (دوم)
- Bandar Abbas : بندر عباس(Gamberon , Bandar-e-Abbas, Bandarabbas,Gombroon) گامبرون،جرون
- Fifth Column : ستون پنجم
- Nazi Germany : آلمان نازي
- Iranian Army : ارتش ايران
- Caspian Sea : درياي کاسپين
- Ahmadinejad : احمدي نژاد
- Palestinian : فلسطيني
- Switzerland : سوييس
- Afghanistan : افغانستان
- Baluchestan : بلوچستان(Baloochistan,Baluchistan)
- Imperialism : امپرياليسم حكومت امپراتوري ، استعمار طلبي
- Parliament : پارلمان مجلس ، مجلس شورا
- Erwin Ettl : اروين اتل
- Firoozkooh : فيروزکوه(Firouzkouh)
- Aras River : رود ارس
- Mazandaran : مازندران(Tabarestan) طبرستان، تپورستان
- Ahmad Shah : احمد شاه(Ahmad Shah Qajar) احمد شاه قاجار
- Azerbaijan : آذربايجان(Atropatene)
- Roosevelt : روزولت
- Press Law : قانون مطبوعات
- Reza Khan : رضاخان
- Holocaust : هولوکاست
- Nakhjevan : نخجوان(Nahchivan, Nahjevan, Nakhichevan)
- Bolshevik : بلشويک
- Anschluss : آنشلوس
- Reza Shah : رضا شاه(Sardar Sepah, Reza Gholdor) رضا خان
- Despotism : استبداد
- Khorasan : خراسان(Khorassan)
- Monarchy : شهرياري سلطنت مطلقه ، رژيم سلطنتي
- Red Army : ارتش سرخ
- Atlantic : آتلانتيک
- Die Zeit : زمان
- Hungary : مجارستان
- Czarist : تزاري
- Bullard : بولارد
- Romania : روماني(Rumania)
- Armenia : ارمنستان(Armanestan,Armenistan)
- Iranian : ايراني اهل ايران ، وابستهبه ايران
- Persian : فارسي(Farsi,Parsi) ايراني پارسي
- Belgium : بلژيک
- Germany : آلمان
- Shapour : شاپور(Shapur,Shahpur) شاهپور
- Caspian : کاسپين(Caspian Sea, Mazandaran, Khazar Sea) بحر خزر، درياي مازندران
- Isfahan : اصفهان(Esfahan, Sepahan,Esparan) اسپه دانه، اسپهان
- Baghdad : بغداد
- Britain : بريتانيا انگليس
- Russian : روسي
- British : انگليسي
- Pahlavi : پهلوي(Pahlevi)
- Greece : يونان(Ionia,Yunan)
- Kerman : کرمان(Carmania, Kermania)
- Gorgan : گرگان(Jorjan,Jurjan,Hyrcania,Astarabad)
- Tehran : تهران(Teheran, Tahran) طهران
- Russia : روسيه
- Tabriz : تبريز(Tebriz)
- Arabic : عربي تازي
- Soviet : شوروي
- Moscow : مسکو
- Qazvin : قزوين(Ghazvin, Caspian) کاسپين
- Africa : افريقا
- London : لندن
- French : فرانسوي
- Turkey : ترکيه
- Seyyed : سيّد(Seyed) سيد
- France : فرانسه(République française)
- German : آلماني
- Majlis : مجلس(Majles)
- Qajar : قاجار(Ghajar) قجر
- Gilan : گيلان
- Malek : ملک
- Italy : ايتاليا
- India : هند هندوستان
- Swiss : سوئيس
- Jolfa : جلفا
- Aras : ارس(Araks,Araz,Aras River,Araxes) رود ارس
- Yazd : يزد
- Nazi : نازي
- Iraq : عراق(Al Aragh)
- USSR : اتحاد جماهير شوروي(Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.))
- Khan : خان
- Iran : ايران
- WWII : جنگ جهاني دوم
- Shah : شاه پادشاه
- Army : ارتش
- US : ايالات متحده
- UK : انگليس(United Kingdom,The Old Fox)
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