ʿADL, MOṢṬAFĀ (b. 1261 Š./1882 – d. 1329 Š./1950), jurist, professor of law, diplomat, minister and senator, known by the title Manṣur-al-Salṭana (FIGURE 1). His father, Rokn-al-ʿAdāla, was a notable in Azerbaijan and the chief justice of the province of Ḵorāsān (Mojtahedi, p. 119). ʿAdl received his primary education in his native Tabriz, but went to Egypt to receive his secondary education. He then went to Paris to earn a bachelor’s degree in law (Falsafi, p. 97), before beginning his career by working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. For a while, he was the third deputy of the Iranian embassy in Egypt, and then he became the second deputy of the Iranian consulate in Teflis. After a period serving as an assistant in the translation office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ehtešāmi, pp. 102-3), he worked for the Ministry of Justice, during which time he was appointed as a professor in the School of Political Sciences. He subsequently worked for the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Interior, during which period he received the title of Manṣur-al-Salṭana, before, in 1918, he was given the post of interior minister in Woṯuq-al-Dawla’s cabinet. After Naṣr-al-Molk was appointed minister of justice, ʿAdl became his assistant, and then in the short-lived cabinet of Sayyed Żiāʾ-al-Din Ṭabāṭabāʾi, he was made acting minister of justice (Ṭabāṭabāʾi, p. 97).

In 1927, in the Ministry of Justice inaugurated by ʿAli-Akbar Dāvar, ʿAdl was given the position of director general of the department for the preparation of laws and statistics (Ṣadr, I, p. 290). In this position, he was involved in the preparation and coordination of all the laws ratified at that time. In 1935, he was appointed ambassador to Geneva and permanent representative to the United Nations. In that capacity, he also served as the head of the hundredth Council of the United Nations (Bāmdād, p. 47). In 1937, he was given the position of the assistant to the minister of foreign affairs, and, during the cabinet of Maḥmud Jam, he directed that Ministry himself (Masʿudi, p. 41), before becoming Iran’s ambassador to Italy, a position that he held until 1941. Upon the occupation of Iran by the allied forces and the discontinuation of relations between Iran and Italy, he was recalled to Tehran and appointed as chancellor of the College of Law, Political Science, and Economics (Ṣadiq, p. 59). In the last reform of Foruḡi’s cabinet, he was put in charge of the Ministry of Culture, but Foruḡi and his cabinet resigned after they received a low approval vote from the Majles. In the cabinet of ʿAli Sohayli, he also began as minister of culture (Ṭabāṭabāʾi, p. 97), and became minister without portfolio in 1943. He continued in that post in the cabinet of Moḥammad-Sāʾed Marāḡaʾi. In 1944, he was made minister of justice in Mortażā-Qoli Bayāt’s cabinet. In the cabinets of Ebrāhim Ḥakimi and Moḥsen Ṣadr, he kept his position as minister without portfolio (Ehtešāmi, p. 104).

In 1945, as the head of the Iranian delegation at a conference in San Francisco, ʿAdl gave a long, persuasive lecture arguing for the de-occupation of Iran and the payment of reparations for the damage caused by the war. He subsequently attended the assembly of the United Nations, and struggled for the recognition of the rights of Iran and her territorial integrity (Ṭabāṭabāʾi, p. 97).

In 1947, he was appointed to the post of minister of justice by Aḥmad Qawām, and he then became minister without portfolio once again, a post he kept in the cabinets of ʿAbd-al-Ḥosayn Hažir and M oḥammad-Sāʾed. He was elected to the first Senate from the province of Azerbaijan (Aḵgar, p. 178), in 1949, a year before he died of cancer.

ʿAdl was not only a professor and the chancellor of the College of Law and Political Science, he was also a major legal scholar. For half a century he was a member of all the commissions that were responsible for preparing laws (see CIVIL CODE). His commentaries on constitutional law and criminal law, which were published in Persian (repeatedly) and French, were taught in the schools of political science and law in Iran. His most significant work is Ḥoquq-e madani (Tehran, 1929), a commentary on Iranian civil law which was published more than ten times and became the model for future commentaries on civil law (Sepahrām, p. 356). In 1928, when the Iranian National Bank was established, ʿAdl was its legal advisor and played an important role in preparing the laws pertaining to financial and monetary affairs. At one point, he was also a member of the committee supervising the National Bank (Jahānšāhi, p. 28). 


Moṣṭafā ʿAdl, Ḥoquq-e madani, Tehran, 1308 Š./1929.

Aḥmad Aḵgar, Sāl-nāma-ye Aḵgar, Tehran, 1329 Š./1950.

Mahdi Bāmdād, Tāriḵ-e rejāl-e Irān, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974, IV.

Abu’l-Ḥasan Ehtešāmi, ed., Bāzigarān-e siāsat, 1328 Š./1949.

Eṭṭelāʿāt-e sālāna 1341, Tehran, 1342 Š./1963.

Naṣr-Allāh Falsafi, ed., Čand parda az zendegāni-e rejāl-e maʿruf-e Irāni, 1324 Š./1945.

ʿAbd-al-ʿAli Jahānšāhi, Tāriḵ-e si sāla-ye Bānk-e Melli, Tehran, 1377 Š./1998.

Moḥammad Mojtahedi, Tāriḵ-e rejāl-e Āẕarbāijān, Tehran, 1326 Š./1947.

ʿIsāṢadiq, ed., Yādegār-e ʿomr, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974, III.

Moḥsen Ṣadr, Ḵāṭerāt-e Ṣadr-al-Ašrāf, Tehran, 1364 Š./1985.

Amir-Masʿud Sepahrām, ed., Tāriḵ-e bargozidagān, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962.

ʿAbd-al-Karim Ṭabāṭabāʾi, ed., Noḵostin sāl-nāma-ye donyā, Tehran, 1324 Š./1945.

(Bāqer ʿĀqeli)

Originally Published: July 20, 2002

Last Updated: July 22, 2011

Cite this entry:

Bāqer ʿĀqeli, “ʿADL, MOṢṬAFĀ,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/adl-mostafa-1 (accessed on 16 October 2012).