29 Facts About Amir Kabir


Mirza Taghi Khan-e Farahani, better known as Amir Kabir, known by the title of Amir-e Nezam or Amir Nezam, was chief minister to Naser al-Din Shah Qajar for the first three years of his reign.


Amir Kabir was born in Hazaveh in the Arak district, in what is Markazi Province of Iran.


Amir Kabir first assisted his father in performing domestic duties in the household of Mirza Bozorg, who saw signs of unusual talent in the boy and had him study with his own children.


Under the son's aegis, Amir Kabir entered government service, being appointed first to the post of lashkarnevis [military registrar] for the army of Azerbaijan.


Amir Kabir spent almost four years in Erzurum, part of a commission to delineate the Ottoman-Iranian frontier.


Amir Kabir resisted attempts to exclude Mohammareh from Iranian sovereignty and to make Iran pay compensation for its military incursions into the area of Solaymaniyeh.


Amir Kabir nonetheless acquired first-hand knowledge of the procedures of international diplomacy and of the aims and policies of Britain and Russia with respect to Iran.


Naser-al-din's confidence in Amir Kabir increased, and shortly after leaving Tabriz, he awarded him the rank of amir-e nezam, with full responsibility for the whole Iranian army.


The intrigues of his opponents resulted in a mutiny of a company of Azerbaijani troops garrisoned in Tehran; but with the cooperation of Mirza Abu'l-Qasem Imam of Friday Prayer in Tehran, who ordered the merchants of Tehran to close the bazaar and arm themselves, the mutiny was quelled, and Amir Kabir resumed his duties.


Amir Kabir sent two armies against Hasan Khan, the second of which, commanded by Soltan Morad Mirza, defeated his forces and captured him.


Amir Kabir had him executed, together with one of his sons and one of his brothers, a punishment of unprecedented severity for such provincial resistance to central authority, and a clear sign of Amir Kabir's intention to assert the prerogatives of the state.


Amir Kabir thereupon decided to reduce drastically the salaries of the civil service, often by half, and to eliminate a large number of stipends paid to pensioners who did little or no governmental work.


Amir Kabir introduced the planting of sugarcane to the province, built the Naseri dam on the river Karkheh and a bridge at Shushtar, and laid plans for the development of Mohammara.


Amir Kabir took steps to promote the planting of American cotton near Tehran and Urmia.


The initial purpose of the institution was to train officers and civil servants to pursue the regeneration of the state that Amir Kabir had begun, but as the first educational institution giving instruction in modern learning, it had far wider impact.


Mirza Aqa Khan Nuri, Amir Kabir's successor, sought to persuade Naser-al-din Shah to abrogate the whole project, but the Darolfonun, soon became a posthumous monument to its founder.


In founding the journal Amir Kabir hoped to give greater effect to government decrees by bringing them to the attention of the public; thus the text of the decree forbidding the levying of soyursat was published in the third tissue of the paper.


Amir Kabir wished to educate its readers in the world's political and scientific developments; among the items reported in the first year of publication were the struggles of Mazzini against the Habsburg Empire, the drawing up of the Suez Canal project, the invention of the balloon, a census of England, and the doings of cannibals in Borneo.


Amir Kabir took a variety of steps designed to curb their influence, above all in the sphere of law.


Amir Kabir sought to reduce clerical power by restricting the ability of the ulema to grant refuge, in their residences and mosques.


Amir Kabir obtained the support of several ulema in his attempt to prohibit these rites, but was obliged to relent in the face of strong opposition, particularly from Isfahan and Azerbaijan.


Amir Kabir took a largely benevolent interest in the non-Muslim minorities of Iran, though in order to further his desire of strengthening the state.


Amir Kabir forbade attempts made in Shushtar to convert forcibly the Mandaean community to Islam.


The foreign policy of Amir Kabir was as innovative as his internal policies.


Amir Kabir has been credited with pioneering the policy of "negative equilibrium," that was to later prove influential in Iranian foreign affairs.


Amir Kabir thus abrogated the agreement whereby the Russians were to operate a trade center and hospital in Astarabad, and attempted to put an end to the Russian occupation of Ashuradeh, an island in the southeastern corner of the Caspian Sea, as well as the anchorage rights enjoyed by Russian ships in the lagoon of Anzali.


Amir Kabir was later opposed by those who envied him his numerous posts; they were backed strongly by foreign powers, whose influence had greatly diminished under his leadership.


Amir Kabir was sent to Kashan under duress and kept in isolation by the Shah's decree.


Amir Kabir was murdered in Kashan on 10 January 1852.