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Anglo Iran 1919 Agreement

Monday, July 23, 2012

Zahra Abbassi

This treaty was a dark page in Iran's history, containing a document involving Great Britain and Persia (Iran) and centered around drilling rights of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. It was never ratified by the Majlis. The "agreement" was issued by British Foreign Secretary Earl Curzon to the Persian government in August of 1919. It stated a guarantee of British access to Iranian oil fields (including five northern provinces formerly under the Russian sphere of influence). Eventually, the Anglo-Persian agreement was formally denounced by the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) on June 22, 1921.

The 1919 agreement was concluded between the British and Iran through complicity of Vossouqoddowleh, then the prime minister. In 1919, Iran sent a mission to Paris Peace Conference to express Iran’s wishes for cancellation of 1907 agreement, capitulation law and all foreign concessions. However, the British impeded the admittance of Iranian mission to the Peace Conference. According to the 1919 agreement concluded between Iran and the British, all military and financial organizations were put under the British supervision. The secret agreement was concluded between Vossouqoddowleh and Sir Percy Cox, the British minister to Tehran. The British did not wait for the ratification of the agreement by the national assembly, and sent a military mission headed by General Dixon and a financial mission under Hermitage Smith for forming the new military organization and the financial administration. They lent Iran 2 million pound, with 7% interest rate. However, the league of nations did not recognize this treacherous agreement which would turn Iran to a British protectorate. In Iran, the liberals protested against it, and France and the United States objected to the British for imposing such an agreement to Iran.

Vossouqoddowleh ordered for the detainment of the protesters, suspended the press and sent Ahmad Shah Qajar to Europe, and began to carry out the contents of the agreement. However, he was forced to leave his office. Mirza Hassan Khan Moshiroddowleh took the cabinet and stopped the implementation of the agreement, and following 21st March coup, it was nullified.

The hegemonic deal guaranteed British access to all Iranian oil fields (including five northern provinces formerly under the Russian sphere of influence) in return for:

1. Supply of munitions and equipment for a British-trained army.
2. 2 million sterling loan.
3. Revising the Customs tariff.
4. Survey and build railroads.

By the Anglo-Persian agreement Iran was being tricked into granting full British control of the army, customs, transportation on top of oil reserves, thus practically turning the country into a colony. In November 1918, Percy Cox was appointed ambassador to Tehran, negotiating the agreement. Such deals were usually signed by bribing the Qajar court members.

Cox was a British spy who had succeeded in creating the autonomous state of Kuwait within the Ottoman Empire by the Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913 and had established strong relationships with many Persian Gulf rulers including the Saud family in order to establish British hegemony in the region.

Documents

1 - Agreement between the British and the Iranian government according to which Iran’s finance and military were put under the British instructors and commanders, the uniform troops, gendarmes and Cossacks would be merged within a single force, besides to the construction of railroads, and payment of 2 million pound loan to Iran by the British [F 114-3-36-30] (page 1)

2 - Agreement between the British and Iranian government according to which Iran’s finance and military were put under the British instructors and commanders, the uniform troops, gendarmes and Cossacks would be merged within a single force, besides to the Construction of railroads, and payment of 2 million pound loan to Iran by the British [F 114-3-36-31] (page 2)

3 - Agreement between the British and Iranian government according to which Iran’s finance and military were put under the British instructors and commanders. The uniform troops, gendarmes and Cossacks would be merged within a single force, besides to the construction of railroads, and payment of 2 million pound loan to Iran by the British [F 114-3-36-32] (page 3)

4 - A copy of the supplement to the 1919 agreement [F 114-3-36-36] (page 1)

5 - A copy of the supplement to the 1919 agreement [F 114-3-36-37] (page 2)

6 - Agreement on 2 million pound British loan to be paid to the Iranian government [F 114-3-36-28] (page 1)

7 - Agreement on 2 million pound British loan to be paid to the Iranian government [F 114-3-36-29] (page 2)

8 - Translation of the British minister, Sir Percy Cox’s letter to the prime minister, Vossoquddowleh on the impossibility of providing the loan to Iran’s Treasury and the Cossack brigade prior to the arrival of financial advisors in Iran [F 114-3-36-35]

9 - A letter by Sir Percy Cox to Vossouqoddowleh on providing the expenses of the maintenance of British forces in Iran in exchange of Iran’s not taking indemnity, non-relatedness of this agreement to the claims of individual and private institutions [F 114-3-36-38] (page 1)

10 - A letter by Sir Percy Cox to Vossouqoddowleh on providing the expenses of the maintenance of British forces in Iran in exchange of Iran’s not taking indemnity, non-relatedness of this agreement to the claims of individual and private institutions [F 114-3-36-39] (page 2)

11- Vossouqoddowleh’s reply to Sir Percy Cox, giving Iranian government’s consent to the British about the expenses of the afore-said troops [F 114-3-36-40]

12 - Vossouqoddowleh’s letter to the British minister, Sir Percy Cox, claiming that regarding Iran’s financial problems, the payment of fees and one hundred thousand tomans to the British finance ministry has no foundation

13 - Vossouqoddowleh’s letter to the British minister, Sir Percy Cox, claiming that regarding Iran’s financial problems, the payment of fees and one hundred thousand tomans to the British finance ministry has no foundation

Source: The Institute for Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies (IICHS)
http://www.iichs.org

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