ANṢARĪ, ʿALĪ-QOLĪ KHAN

 

ANṢARĪ, ʿALĪ-QOLĪ KHAN MOŠĀWER-AL-MAMĀLEK (1247-1319 Š./1868-1940), a career diplomat under the late Qajars. He was the son of Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Nāyeb-al-wezāra and the grandson of Mīrzā Masʿūd Khan Garmrūdī Anṣārī, the Minister of Foreign Affairs under Moḥammad Shah Qāǰār (r. 1250-64/1834-48).

Having learnt Russian and French in Trebizond and Astrakhan during his father’s tenure of foreign service in these cities, he entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a translator and, in that capacity, accompanied the Persian delegation to the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II (ʿA. Molkārā, Šarḥ-e ḥāll, pp. 198, 206). In 1320/1902-03 he was the chief secretary of the Persian Delegation in Moscow and in 1329/1911 became the Deputy Munster of Foreign Affairs. His first assignment to the post of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, a position he held several times, was in the cabinet formed by ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Mīrzā Farmānfarmā in 1334/1916. He led the Persian Delegation sent to the peace conference at Versailles (1297/1919), but the Delegation was excluded from the Conference due to the lack of proper support from the government in Tehran, which under the premiership of Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Woṯūq-al-dawla was then negotiating the Anglo-Persian Agreement of 1919 with the British. The British did not like him, nor were they pleased at all with the nationalistic sentiments expressed by the other member of the Delegation, Ḥosayn ʿAlāʾ Moʿīn-al-wezāra (Wm. J. Olson, Anglo-Iranian Relations, pp. 216-17, 220, 228-29, 232-33, 234; according to ʿA. Mostawfī (Zendagā III, p. 73), Woṯūq-al-dawla had sent him away to Europe in the hope that his absence from Tehran would facilitate the sanctioning of the agreement, but Olson’s study has shown that Anṣārī was chosen by Aḥmad Shah against the expressed wishes of the British, who preferred Woṯūq-al-dawla himself to represent Iran at the Conference (see also M. T. Bahār, Tārīḵ-e moḵtaṣar-e aḥzāb-e sīāsī, enqerāż-e qāǰārīya, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1357 Š./1978, p. 37, and Y. Alexander and A. Nanes, eds., The United States and Iran: A Documentary History, Frederick, Maryland, 1980, pp. 23-24). He was recalled from Paris and sent as an ambassador to Istanbul. After the fall of Woṯūq-al-dawla’s cabinet, the new premier, Mīrzā Ḥasan Khan Mošīr-al-dawla, sent him to Moscow where he successfully negotiated the agreement of 1921 with the Russians, which abrogated all concessions that the Russians had gained in Iran. At about the same time he persuaded the Russian government to stop supplying arms to the revolutionaries in Gīlān (Mostawfī, op. cit., III, p. 193). He was sent to Russia once more in 1306 Š./1927 to negotiate a trade agreement (Ramazani, Foreign Policy, p. 209).

According to Mostawfī who knew him both as a friend and as a colleague, Mošāwer-al-mamālek was a handsome man of polished manners, but weak and with occasional stubbornness (op. cit., II, p. 102). Mostawfī’s opinion that Mošāwer-al-mamālek was not knowledgeable in the art of diplomacy (ibid.) is contradicted by the latter’s successful negotiations with the Russians (see also Mostawfī, ibid.).

 

Bibliography:

See also ʿA. M. Anṣārī (ʿAlī-qolī Khan’s son), Zendāgān-e man I, Tehran, n.d., passim.

Bāmdād, Reǰāl II, pp. 459-61.

Y. Dawlatābādī, Tārīḵ-e ʿaṣr-e ḥāżer yā ḥayāt-e Yaḥyā IV, Tehran, 1331 Š./1952, pp. 185-86.

ʿA. Molkārā, Šarḥ-e h¡āll, ed.

ʿA. Navāʾī, Tehran, 1361 Š./1982.

ʿA. Mostawfī, Šarh¡-e zendāgānī-e man yātārīk²-e edārī o eǰtemāʿī-e dawra-ye qāǰārīya, 2nd ed., II, Tehran, n.d., passim; III, Tehran, 1343 Š./1964, pp. 133, 183-86, 189-91, 193-94, 551 and passim.

Wm. J. Olson, Anglo-Iranian Relations during World War I, London, 1984, pp. 215-56.

R. K. Ramazani, The Foreign Policy of Iran 1500-1941, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1966, pp. 163-64, 186-88.

H. W. V. Temperley, History of the Peace Conference in Paris VI, London, 1924, pp. 206-17.

(M. Kasheff)

Originally Published: December 15, 1985

Last Updated: August 5, 2011

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