Table of Contents


    Multiple Authors

    the legal, political, and social status of every person who belongs to a state.



    See ČEHR.


    Rüdiger Schmitt

    Iranian personal name meaning “with shining splendor.”





    Hūšang Aʿlam

    in Persia, only the citrus trees and fruits of the genus Citrus L. (family Rutaceae, subfamily Aurantioideae) need be considered.


    Ḥosayn Farhūdī

    (anjoman-e šahr) in Persia.


    Naser Yeganeh

    (qānūn-e madanī) of Persia, a series of regulations controlling all civic and social relations between individuals in the various circumstances of their lives.


    Multiple Authors

    (ṭabaqāt-e ejtemāʿī), a generic term referring to various types of social group, including castes, estates, status groups, and occupational categories.

  • CLASS SYSTEM i. In the Avesta

    Prods Oktor Skjærvø

    The evidence for the existence of a highly developed class structure in the community in which the Avestan texts were composed is very slight, and the available information must be culled from sources chronologically as far apart as the Avesta itself and the Pahlavi texts.

  • CLASS SYSTEM ii. In the Median and Achaemenid Periods

    Pierre Briant

    There are strong grounds for supposing that, for some purposes at least, Persians still defined their class structure in terms of the ancient Iranian social divisions outlined in parts of the Avesta, where individuals are classified by basic function as priests, warriors, and farmers.

  • CLASS SYSTEM iii. In the Parthian and Sasanian Periods

    Mansour Shaki

    The scant and fragmentary information available on the Parthian period does not permit a comprehensive descrip­tion of social structure; in fact, the vast but decentralized empire encompassed a variety of social structures.

  • CLASS SYSTEM iv. Classes In Medieval Islamic Persia

    Ahmad Ashraf and Ali Banuazizi

    A new social stratification and conception of inequality seems to have gradually emerged under the influence of: (1) Islamic ideals of equality and merit; (2) pre-Islamic Persian and Arabian ideals and practices of social inequality; and above all (3) rivalries among social groups over wealth, prestige, and power.

  • CLASS SYSTEM v. Classes in the Qajar Period

    Ahmad Ashraf and Ali Banuazizi

    During the Qajar period there continued to be a fundamental division between a narrow stratum of courtiers, state officials, tribal leaders, religious notables, landlords and great merchants at the top and the vast majority of peasants, tribespeople, and laborers in agriculture, traditional industries, and services at the bottom.

  • CLASS SYSTEM vi. Classes in the Pahlavi Period

    Ahmad Ashraf and Ali Banuazizi

    The major social classes leading to the revolution in 1979, consisted of professionals, bureaucrats, the bourgeoisie, the traditional middle and lower-middle classes, the heterogeneous working classes, and the agrarian classes.

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    Beatrice Forbes Manz and Margaret L. Dunaway

    (d. 2 April 1412), ambassador from King Henry III of Castile and Leon to Tīmūr in the years 805-08/1403-06 and author of an important travel account.


    Multiple Authors

    This article treats cleansing practices in Zoroastrianism and in Islamic Persia.

  • CLEANSING i. In Zoroastrianism

    Mary Boyce

    Cleansing is conceived as a cosmic and individual activity is an essential element in Zoroastrianism, which teaches that the assault of the Evil Spirit, Angra Mainyu, brings defilement on all the good creations of Ahura Mazdā and that they, in their struggle for salvation, must ceaselessly strive to rid themselves of it.

  • CLEANSING ii. In Islamic Persia

    Hamid Algar

    The identification of unclean objects (najāsāt) and of the factors or agents that, within certain limits, may cleanse them (moṭahherāt) depends more on the interpretation of prophetic tradition and on juristic deduc­tion than it does on clear Koranic injunctions.


    Rüdiger Schmitt

    (b. ca. 390 or 410 BCE, the latter date based on Memnon’s report of his age as fifty-eight years at his death in 352), tyrant of Pontic Heracleia (modern Ereğli) in 363-52 BCE.


    Rüdiger Schmitt

    (b. Sparta ca. 450 BCE, d. Babylon 401 BCE), son of Rhamphias, Greek general in the service of Cyrus the Younger.


    Rüdiger Schmitt

    (Gk. Kleítarchos), Greek histo­rian of the 4th century BCE, son of the historian Dinon of Colophon and author of a history of the exploits of Alexander the Great.


    Rüdiger Schmitt

    (1865-1940), Ger­man Protestant theologian and historian of religions who compiled the classical passages on Iranian reli­gion.

  • CLEMENT of Alexandria

    Marie Louise Chaumont

    (Titus Flavius Clemens, probably b. Athens ca. 150 C.E., d. Cappadocia ca. 215), Greek convert to Christianity who became the leading theologian of his time, a polemicist particularly noted for his attempts to reconcile Greco-Roman thought with Christian teachings.


    Marie Louise Chaumont

    the unknown author of a work of fiction falsely ascribed to Pope Clement I (88-­97 CE) and now generally known as the Pseudo­-Clementines, which contains passages reflecting myths and teachings of Persian origin.



    in Roman sources a designation for a Parthian armored cavalryman. See ASB; ASB-SAVĀRĪ.


    Eckart Ehlers

    The Persian national weather service first began publishing its observations only in the year 1956, when a network of synoptic observation stations was first constructed in confor­mity with international standards; detailed data for many parts of the country are thus available for only about twenty-five or thirty years.

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    Aḥmad Tafażżolī

    (kešvar), ancient division of the earth’s surface.


    Willem Floor

    devices for measuring and registering time.


    Lutz Richter-Bernburg

    (1818-1855), French anatomist and French minister to the court at Tehran 1846-55, serving as personal physician to Moḥammad Shah (r. 1834-48) and Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah Qājār (r. 1848-96).


    Multiple Authors

    (Ar. and Pers. lebās, Pers. pūšāk, jāma, raḵt). The articles in this series are devoted to clothing of the Iranian peoples in successive historical periods and of various regions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Iran.

  • CLOTHING i. General remarks


    Of the twenty-seven subsequent articles in this series eleven are devoted to clothing of the Iranian peoples in successive historical periods and fourteen to modern clothing of various regions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Persia. The remaining two are compilations of terminology for various types of garment in these settings.

  • CLOTHING ii. In the Median and Achaemenid periods

    Shapur Shahbazi

    Several overgarments were associ­ated with court dress. The vest was worn by Darius the Great, the Persepolitan monster-slaying hero, and the Persian and Elamite throne bearers represented on the tombs. IBeing sleeveless, it left the wearer free to move quickly.

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  • CLOTHING iii. In the Arsacid period

    Trudi Kawami

    The Parthian period, when the Arsacid dynasty ruled, or claimed to rule, Persia, was the period in which trousers and sleeved coats became common garb throughout the Near East. These garments, the direct ancestors of modern dress, crossed political and ethnic boundaries and were worn from northern India to Syria, continuing Achaemenid styles.

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  • CLOTHING iv. In the Sasanian period

    Elsie H. Peck

    Variation of the veiled tunic is seen on a series of silver-gilt vases and ewers depicting female dancers and generally dated to the 5th and 6th centuries. In these images the veil, instead of being worn over the shoulder, is draped below the hips, with its ends wrapped around the arms.

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  • CLOTHING v. In Pre-Islamic Eastern Iran

    Gerd Gropp

    Modern knowledge of the dress of the eastern Iranian peoples is derived from literary and archeological sources, which can be compared, though with caution. Although there were regional differences, as well as a broad change over time, on the whole the costume remained fairly uniform.

  • CLOTHING vi. Of the Sogdians

    Aleksandr Naymark

    The most common type of male outer garment was a caftan with long, tapered sleeves; a round neck; and slits on the sides of the skirt. The neckline, lapels, cuffs, hem, and side slits were trimmed with fabric of another pattern. The caftan was worn belted.

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  • CLOTHING vii. Of the Iranian Tribes on the Pontic Steppes and in the Caucaus

    S. A. Yatsenko

    Both sexes wore caftans open in front, trou­sers, and a tunic with a round neck opening and long side slits, convenient for riding horses.

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  • CLOTHING viii. In Persia from the Arab conquest to the Mongol invasion

    Elsie H. Peck

    There is evidence that styles of the late Sasanian period in Persia continued to be worn for some time after the Islamic conquest. The costume worn by “Bahrām Gōr” in a relief from the same site probably reflects that of a man of high rank.

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  • CLOTHING ix. In the Mongol and Timurid periods

    Eleanor Sims

    The few Mongol and Timurid garments that survive almost all come from tombs; they reveal more about material and weaves, designs and colors, than about cut.

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  • CLOTHING x. In the Safavid and Qajar periods

    Layla S. Diba

    Pictorial sources for both the Safavid and Qajar periods provide a comprehensive survey of costume types and are thus an important tool, as long as it is remembered that Persian painting is often idealized and standardized. 

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  • CLOTHING xi. In the Pahlavi and post-Pahlavi periods

    ʿAlī-Akbar Saʿīdī Sīrjānī

    Office workers and other urban residents who favored modernity gradually adopted the sardārī (frock coat), trousers, and even on occasion Western suits. In 1928 the cabinet resolved that all male Persians dress uniformly in Western style.

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  • CLOTHING xiii. Clothing in Afghanistan

    Nancy Hatch Dupree

    The most diagnostic item of clothing is headgear; and even the ubiquitous turban (Pers. langōtā, dastār, Pashto paṭkay, pagṛi), which can vary in length from 3 to 6 m, takes on distinguishing characteristics, depending on the arrangement of folds.

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  • CLOTHING xiv. Clothing of the Hazāra tribes

    Klaus Ferdinand

    In the 1950s Hazāra women made all the family clothing, and they also wove barrak on a horizontal loom of a type common in Afghanistan. Cotton is cultivated in the warmer southern part of Hazārajāt, for example, in Šahrestān (formerly Sepāy) in Dāy Zangī and farther south in Orūzgān and Jāḡūrī; profes­sional male weavers make the traditional cotton cloth called karbās on a loom of a type found extensively in southern and western Asia.

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  • CLOTHING xv. Clothing of Tajikistan

    Guzel’ Maĭtdinova

    The most common traditional garment is a straight dress, widening at the bottom, worn over trousers. The long, full sleeves generally cover the hands, though in some mountain regions sleeves are closely fitted to the wrists. Another type of dress is cut straight, with a yoke and inset sleeves.

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  • CLOTHING xvi. Kurdish clothing in Persia

    Shirin Mohseni and Peter Andrews

    In western Azerbaijan Mahābād is the main urban center for the Kurds. Women there wear balloon-shaped trousers (darpe), 4-6 m wide, fitted at the ankles, and a long pleated dress (kerās), 4-5 m wide, with a round neck­line and long sleeves.

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  • CLOTHING xvii. Clothing of the Kurdish Jews

    Ora Shwartz-Beeri

    Everyday men’s clothes were made from handwoven sheep’s wool. Suits for weddings and other festive occasions were of handwoven mohair. These suits were embellished with embroi­dery. According to infor­mants, expensive fabrics for women’s and children’s clothes were also handmade of wild silk, from worms that feed on oak trees in the region.

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  • CLOTHING xviii. Clothing of the Baluch in Persia

    Iran Ala Firouz and Mehremonīr Jahānbānī

    The basic garments are variations of the traditional and tribal costume characteristic of Persia as a whole: a long, loose robe with a round neckline, a slit down the center of the bodice, and long, wide sleeves tapering toward the wrists, worn over a chemise and wide trousers narrowing at the ankles and with a drawstring at the waist.

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  • CLOTHING xix. Clothing of the Baluch in Pakistan and Afghanistan

    Pamela Hunte

    There is some variation in apparel among tribes, especially in specific embroidery designs and in the terminology applied to garments and embroidery patterns. The northern tribes wear heavier clothing as protection in the colder climate. 

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  • CLOTHING xx. Clothing of Khorasan

    Ḥosayn-ʿAlī Beyhaqī

    The male costume includes either a tasseled black cap, around which a shawl is wrapped; a hood woven of black lamb’s wool, which covers the head from above the eyebrows to the neck; a traveling hood, which covers the face, with an opening for the eyes; or a hat made of lambskin.

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  • CLOTHING xxi. Turkic and Kurdish clothing of Azerbaijan

    P. A. Andrews And M. Andrews

    Traditional costume, now worn largely in a tribal context, retains the form of garments as they were at the end of the 19th century; it is only among Kurdish, rather than Turkic, men that elements have survived the reforms of Reżā Shah in everyday wear.

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  • CLOTHING xxii. Clothing of the Caspian area

    Christian Bromberger

    In several aspects the traditional dress (Gīlaki lebās; Ṭāleši ḵalā) of Gīlān and Māzandarān bears a struc­tural resemblance to that of other rural regions of Persia. It is constructed in successive layers, often of similar pieces superimposed, like women’s skirts or men’s shirts in winter. 

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  • CLOTHING xxiii. Clothing of the Persian Gulf area

    R. Shahnaz Nadjmabadi

    Hormozgān is the main focus here. Women’s clothing consists of four basic parts: head covering, dress, trousers, and shoes. The normal head covering is a rectangular black scarf of thin silk (maknā) wrapped round the head and fastened on top with a metal pin (čollāba).

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  • CLOTHING xxiv. Clothing of the Qašqāʾī tribes

    Lois Beck

    In the 19-20th centuries the Qašqāʾī constituted a tribal confederacy of people of ethnolinguistically diverse origin; they were predominantly nomadic pastoralists who migrated seasonally between the low­lands and the highlands in the southern Zagros mountains. They created their own distinctive dress from market-derived goods and the work of village and urban craft specialists.

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  • CLOTHING xxv. Clothing of the Baḵtīārīs and other Lori speaking tribes

    Jean-Pierre Digard

    Members of the Lori-speaking ethnic groups, including the Lors themselves, the Baḵtīārīs, and the Boīr-Aḥmadīs are characterized by similar styles of dress, with variations reflecting differences in tribe and social class of the wearer, variations that can have strong symbolic meaning, particularly among the Baḵtīārīs.

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  • CLOTHING xxvi. Clothing and jewelry of the Turkmen

    P. A. Andrews

    Until the 1970s the clothing and jewelry of the Turkmen formed the most elaborate tribal costume still used in Persia. The principal women’s garment is a shift (köynek), formerly of silk, now replaced by synthetic fibers.

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  • CLOTHING xxvii. Historical lexicon of Persian clothing

    Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Yūsofī

    The lexicon has been compiled from personal observations, descriptions in Persian and other sources, and from old paintings, drawings, and photographs.

  • CLOTHING xxviii. Concordance of clothing terms among ethnic groups in modern Persia


    This concordance has been compiled from xiii-xxvi, above.


    Eckart Ehlers

    Large tracts of central Persia and the adjacent arid plateaus of Afghanistan lie under cloudless skies for most of the year, which contributes to typical “conti­nental” climatic conditions.



    See ŠABDAR.



    See DALQAK.

  • COAL

    Willem M. Floor

    Ordinary Per­sians claimed that, as they could not burn coal in their water pipes, they had no need of it. Only Europeans living in Tehran and Tabrīz used coal for heating; they collected it from the surface in bas­kets.

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    Elisabeth West FitzHugh and Willem M. Floor

    a chemical element that imparts a blue color to glass and glazes and to certain pigments.


    Charles Melville

    eponymous founder of the Chobanid dynasty and the leading Mongol amir of the late Il-khanid period.




  • COCK

    James R. Russell, Mahmoud Omidsalar

    the male of the subfamily Phasianinae (pheasants), usually having a long, often tectiform tail with fourteen to thirty-two feathers.





    Hūšang Aʿlam

    the fruit of the palm Cocos nucifera L., which grows in the East Indies, as well as in most other humid tropical regions.


    C. Edmund Bosworth

    It is likely that substitution ciphers were used by early Persian states, for nearly identical versions were still in use in Qajar Persia. During the reigns of Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah and Moḥammad Shah (1834-48) the minister Abu’l-Qāsem Qāʾemmaqām devised a number of letter-substitution codes for communicating with different princes and viziers.

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    D. N. MacKenzie

    a manuscript of eighty-two paper leaves, measuring approximately 20 x 14 cm, preserved in the Biblioteca Nazionale of the cathe­dral of San Marco in Venice and comprising princi­pally vocabularies and texts of the Northwest Middle Turkic language of the Cumans, or Komans, recorded in Latin script.


    Jes P. Asmussen

    forty-three Avestan and Pahlavi codices acquired by Rasmus Kristian Rask (1787-1832) in Bombay, India, and Niels Ludvig Westergaard (1815-1878) in Persia, all originally de­posited in the library of the University of Copenhagen but later transferred to the Royal Library.

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    ʿAlī Āl-e Dāwūd

    a drink made by steeping in boiling water the dried, roasted, and ground berries of the coffee tree (Coffea arabica).


    ʿAlī Āl-e Dawūd

    a shop and meeting place where coffee is prepared and served.





    Abbas Alizadeh

    Čoḡā Bonut is important because it has provided evidence of the earliest stages of settled agricultural life in Ḵuzestān. It is a small mound; in its truncated and artificially rounded state it has a diameter of about 50 m and rises just over 5 m above the surrounding plain.

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    Helene J. Kantor

    Čoḡā Mīš was occupied continuously, except for one or two presumably short breaks, from approximately the late 6th millennium to the late 4th millennium b.c.e. and must have played a key role in the cultural and social development of the region.

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    Frank Hole

    prehistoric site on the Dehlorān (Deh Luran) plain, dating back to the 8th millennium BCE. Excavation of a step trench in 1969 uncovered six archeological phases representing some 1,500 years of occupation, but there remain older deposits as yet unexcavated.

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    Elizabeth Carter

    or Chogha Zanbil, a city founded by the Elamite king Untaš Napiriša (ca. 1275-40 B.C.E.) about 40 km southeast of Susa at a strategic point on a main road leading to the highlands. After his death it remained a place of religious pilgrimage and a burial ground until about 1000 B.C.E.

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    See BEET.


    Jean During

    (also čoḡor, čogūr, more commonly called sāz in former Soviet Azerbaijan), is the typical pyriform lute of the ʿāšeq, the professional minstrel of Azerbaijan.


    Stephen Album, Michael L. Bates, Willem Floor

    During the reign of Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah (1797-1834) the first steps toward a modern currency were taken. At the Tabrīz and Isfahan mints well-executed silver and gold coins were struck along with the normal, less carefully minted products, with full, even pressure and reeded edges similar to those found on contemporary British Indian coins. 

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    Fridrik Thordarson

    ancient Greek name of the region at the eastern end of the Black Sea and south of the Caucasus mountains, corresponding to the Georgian provinces of Imeretia, Mingrelia (Samegrelo), Guria and Ač’ara and the Pontic regions of northeastern Turkey.

  • COLETTI, Alessandro

    Adriano Rossi

    (b. Trieste, 1928, d. Rome, 1985), Italian scholar of Iranian languages and general oriental subjects, co-author with his wife, Hanne Grünbaum, of the most comprehensive Persian-Italian dictionary (1978) published in modern times.



    term used to designate the American College, founded by Presbyterians and later renamed: see ALBORZ COLLEGE.



    For important individual colleges, see EDUCATION; FACULTIES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN.


    Werner Sundermann

    or Codex Manichaicus Coloniensis, a lump of parchment fragments the size of a matchbox, containing a portion of the life and teachings of Mani, discovered in 1969 at an indeterminate spot in the area of Asyūṭ (ancient Lycopolis) in upper Egypt, the smallest ancient codex known to date.


    Annemarie Schimmel, Priscilla P. Soucek

    (Pers. rang). i. Color symbolism in Persian literature. ii. Use and importance of color in Persian art. 


    Wolfram Kleiss

    one of several kinds of upright, load-bearing architectural members encompassed, along with piers, in the term sotūn. In the Achaemenid palaces at Persepolis and Susa columns, whether plain or fluted, reached a height of 19 m and a diameter up to 1.60 m; they were topped by double-protome capitals, themselves an additional 8 m high.

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    See KŪMEŠ.


    Michael Weiskopf

    the portion of southwestern Asia Minor bordered on the east by the Euphrates river, on the west by the Taurus mountains, and on the south by the plains of northern Syria. It was part of the Achaemenid empire and successor kingdoms and did not achieve status as an independent kingdom until the mid-2nd century BCE.

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    Multiple Authors

     within Persia and between Persia and other regions.

  • COMMERCE i. In the prehistoric period

    Oscar White Muscarella

    In this early period “commerce” is best defined as the movement or exchange of material or goods between cultures within the present boundaries of Persia and those in other regions.

  • COMMERCE ii. In the Achaemenid period

    Muhammad A. Dandamayev

    The longest of many caravan routes was the Royal Road, which stretched for nearly 2,400 km from Sardis in Asia Minor through Mesopotamia and down the Tigris to Susa; stations with service facilities were located every 25-30 km along its length.

  • COMMERCE iii. In the Parthian and Sasanian periods

    Richard N. Frye

    There are few contemporary sources on commerce in the Parthian period, and no archeological site on the Persian plateau has yielded finds that shed light on the subject.

  • COMMERCE iv. Before the Mongol Conquest

    Bertold Spuler

    There were no centers of trade of supraregional importance in either Persia or Central Asia during the Middle Ages. In the Islamic world Baghdad, the seat of the caliphate, was the primary center for the exchange of goods, which arrived overland or by sea through the port of Baṣra at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

  • COMMERCE vi. In the Safavid and Qajar periods

    Willem Floor

    The Dutch and English East Indies companies were the first well-capitalized trading partners established in Persia, initially providing a much-needed source of cash for the shahs. In return the companies demanded and obtained treaties (in 1617 and 1623) granting them freedom of trade.

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  • COMMERCE vii. In the Pahlavi and post-Pahlavi periods

    Vahid Nowshirvani

    A prominent feature of Persian export trade was the steady rise in both the value and volume of oil shipments through almost the entire Pahlavi period until the Revolution, when this trend was reversed. Because of the large increase in price in 1352 Š./1973 the value of Persian oil exports climbed substantially more than the volume in the 1970s. Other exports fared less well.

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    Annabelle Sreberny-Mohammadi and ʿAlī Mohammadi

    the growth of post, telegraph, and telephone service in Persia was closely linked with the growth of railway and highway networks and other modern transportation systems; it was thus a central element in the development of a modern infrastructure in Persia.


    Multiple Authors

    Communism i. In Persia to 1941, ii. In Persia from 1941 to 1953, iii. In Persia after 1953, iv. In Afghanistan, v. In Tajikistan (see Supplement).