FARĀMARZĪ, ʿABD-AL-RAḤMĀN (b.12 Rabīʾ I 1315/11 August 1897 in Gačūya, Farāmarzān, Fārs; d. 20 Tīr 1351 Š./11 July 1972, Tehran; Figure 1), an outspoken journalist, writer, educator, Majles deputy, and poet. Farāmarzī was the youngest son of Shaikh ʿAbd-al-Wāḥed, scholar, teacher, and chief of the Farāmarzī clan, who migrated to Bušehr after local feuds and disturbances led to the slaying of his cousins in 1317/1899. In 1328/1910 the family moved to Bahrain, where Farāmarzī attended Arabic and Persian schools. Then he and his elder brother Aḥmad were sent to a renowned boarding school in al-Ḥasā, Arabia, to complete their education in the Arabic language and literature and in Islamic studies. Returning to Bahrain, Farāmarzī taught in Persian schools. World War I had just ended, and British influence in the area was at its height. Farāmarzī began sending bitter anti-British articles to the Persian newspapers Estaḵr (q.v.) and ʿAṣr-e āzādī in Shiraz and to the Arabic al-Aḥrām and al-Moqaṭṭam in Cairo. Soon the Farāmarzī family learned of the British authorities’ decision to exile the Farāmarzī brothers to Ceylon. That very night the brothers fled to Qatar and thence to Persian Baluchistan, Shiraz, and Tehran (Behzādī, p. 471).


In 1302 Š./1923 Farāmarzī was employed by the Ministry of Education to teach Arabic literature, philosophy, and logic in the Teachers’ College (see EDUCATION xx) and the Dār al-fonūn (q.v.). Meanwhile he resumed writing articles for major newspapers and magazines (Hamadānī, p. 225). In 1306 Š./1927 he and his brother Aḥmad started publishing a literary-political journal, Taqaddom, but it folded after eleven issues. Later he was appointed assistant to ʿAlī Daštī, head of Edāra-ye rāhnamā-ye nāma-negārī (the censorate) and upon Daštī’s dismissal became its director. Farāmarzī was also was elected four times to the Majles from different constituencies.


After the Allied occupation of Persia (3 Šahrīvar 1320 Š./25 August 1941), Farāmarzī sought to publish his own newspaper. In those unsettled early days of the occupation, however, obtaining the necessary permits was a difficult task. Thus he and his brother “rented” an inactive newspaper, Āyanda-ye Īrān and began publishing it. Farāmarzī’s highly critical editorials attacking the government and the Allied occupational forces quickly led to the suppression of the newspaper. This persuaded Farāmarzī to apply for a newspaper in his own name. Kayhān, bearing the name of Farāmarzī as proprietor and of Moṣṭafā Mesbāḥzāda as editor-in-chief, appeared on the evening of 6 Ḵordād 1321 Š./27 May 1942. Later the roles of Farāmarzī and Mesbāḥzāda at Kayhān were reversed. Farāmarzī’s criticism of the government led to the suppression of his paper many times, and each time it became more popular, ultimately becoming the most widely circulated paper in Persia.


On 1 Mordād 1339 Š./23 July 1960, during a news conference with the shah, Farāmarzī bluntly asked the king whether it was true that Persia had recognized the state of Israel. The shah replied that Persia had given a de facto recognition to Israel, just as many Muslim countries such as Turkey, had done. He went on to explain the difference between de facto and de jure recognition. The shah’s reply had wide repercussions all over the world. Two days later, the Egyptian president Nasser (Jamāl ʿAbd-al-Nāṣer) severed all relations with Persia. The pro-government newspapers in Tehran attacked Farāmarzī for supplying material for Nasser’s propaganda, and he was once again banned from writing (Behzādī, pp. 473-75).


Farāmarzī wrote under many pseudonyms: Konjkāv, Ḵalīl Ašhabī, Nowšād, etc., and spent half of his adult life teaching. In addition to writing the editorials of Kayhān for twenty years, he also published a number of books, among which were a translation (from Arabic) of Lord Avebury’s The Use of Life (Dastūr-e zendagānī, Tehran, 1308 Š./1929), stories of famous friendships (Dāstān-e dūstān, 2 vols., Tehran, n.d.), a history of the press in Persia (Zabān-e maṭbūʿāt Tehran 1349 Š./1970), and a posthumously published collection of essays (Rašaḥāt-e qalam, ed. R. Saʿīdī, Tehran 1353 Š./1974).


Farāmarzī died in 1351 Š./1972 after a long illness, and was buried in the Behešt-e Zahrā cemetery of Tehran.


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”): ʿA.Behzādī, Šebh-e ḵāṭerāt, 2nd ed., Tehran, 1375 Š./1996, pp. 464-90. H. Daha, Yāddāšthā-ye ʿomr, 4 vols., Los Angeles, 1370 Š./1991. Mošfeq Hamadānī, Ḵāṭerāt-e nīm qarn rūz-nāma-negarī, Los Angeles, 1991. R. Saʿīdī, Be yād-e ostād ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Farāmarzī, Tehran, 1351 Š./1972.





Figure 1. Abd-al-Raḥmān Farāmarzī. Photograph courtesy of M. Zarnegar.

(Mohammad Zarnegar)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: December 15, 1999