ĀHI, MAJID (b. Tehran, 1265 Š./1886; d. 22 Šahrivar 1325 Š./12 September 1946), judge, governor of Fārs, minister of justice, and ambassador to the Soviet Union (FIGURE 1). He was the son of Mirzā Abu’l-Qāsem Āhi, a translator at the Russian embassy in Tehran. In 1286 he left for Russia, where he studied economics and law (Qazvini, p. 28) and took a Russian wife. Upon his return to Persia, he was employed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Wezārat-e omur-e ḵāreja; Sāl-nāma-ye donyā, p. 117). Then he served for two years as the Persian director (komisar-e ʿāli) of the Perso-Soviet fisheries (Šerkat-e māhi-e Irān) in Gilān before joining the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the University of Tehran, while holding the position of the deputy minister of education (Falsafi, p. 97).
Āhi was a close associate of his former classmate ʿAli-Akbar Dāvar and cooperated with him to found the Radical party (Ḥezb-e rādikāl), which supported the then minister of war Reżā Khan Sardār-e Sepah, the future Reżā Shah (ʿĀqeli, 1990, pp. 33-34; idem, 2001, p. 38; Ṣadiq, I, pp. 268, 277-78). In 1927 Dāvar appointed him to the post of the advisor (mostašār) to the Supreme Court (Divān-e ʿāli-etamiz) in the new Ministry of Justice (Wezārat-e ʿadliya) that Dāvar had envisaged and just established. Āhi maintained that position for six years until he was sent as governor to Fārs (Sāl-nāma-ye Pārs, p. 195) in 1933. In 1935 he replaced ʿAli Manṣūr (Manṣur-al-Salṭana), as the minister of transportation (Masʿudi, p. 148; Golšāʾiān, 1998, pp. 309-10); it was during his tenure as at this ministry (Wezārat-e ṭoroq wa šawāreʿ) that the construction of the cross-country railway was finished. In 1938 he was removed from his ministerial post and spent some time in jail on the suspicion of being a Russophile (ʿĀqeli, 2001, I, p. 39), because he used to socialize with the members of the Soviet embassy. The charges were eventually dropped and in 1940 he was appointed to the post of the minister of justice (wazir-e dād-gostari) in the new cabinet of ʿAli Manṣūr. The cabinet resigned a year later a few days after the country was invaded by the Allied forces on 3 Šahrivar 1320 Š./24 August 1941. Reżā Shah offered the post of the prime minister to Āhi who was the most senior member of the cabinet, but Āhi and the minister of interior (wazir-e kešvar) ʿAli Sohayli convinced the shah that Moḥammad-ʿAli Foruḡi Ḏokāʾ-al-Molk was the most likely person capable of running the government despite the political tension and economic difficulties of wartime situation and the military presence of the Allied powers (Ḵᵛāja-nuri, p. 402; Golšāʾiān, XI, pp. 539, 547-48; idem, 1998, pp. 527-28; ʿĀqeli, 1990, pp. 483, 486-87).
Foruḡi replaced Manṣur as the prime minister, but Āhi remained the minister of justice, while assisting Foruḡi in carrying out the duties of the prime minister. Āhi held to his office when Foruḡi reshuffled the cabinet to seek the vote of confidence from the Majles after the resignation of Reżā Shah and the ascension of Moḥammad-Reżā Shah, and again when Foruḡi was asked to form a new government after he had resigned as the prime minister (Golšāʾiān, 1998, p. 696, 698-99). Āhi was often shouldering the heavier part of the burden of prime minister’s duties, as Foruḡi, already in advanced age, was often ill and bed-ridden. Āhi was particularly instrumental in having the Tripartite Treaty of Alliance passed by the Majles. Later in the same year, Foruḡi reshuffled the cabinet once more, this time making Āhi the minister of agriculture, economy, and foodstuff (wazir-e kešāvarzi o eqteṣād o ḵᵛārbār; Eṭṭelāʿāt, no. 4812). However, since the Majles barely approved the new cabinet, Foruḡi resigned (Ḵᵛāja-nuri, p. 467) and declined the offer to form a new government, thereby creating a great deal of political uncertainty. Eventually the Majles voted for the prime ministry of ʿAli Sohayli, in whose cabinet Āhi again became the minister of justice (Eṭṭelāʿāt, no. 4819). It was during the tenure of the same cabinet that he was sent in 1942 as ambassador to the Soviet Union to replace Moḥammad Sāʿed, who had been recalled to become the minister of foreign affairs. He stayed in Moscow for four years until serious health problem forced him to return to Tehran on 4 September 1946, where he died a week later (Qazvini, p. 28).
Moḥammad-ʿAli Amir Jāhed, ed., Sāl-nāma-ye Pārs, Tehran, 1314 Š./1935.
Bāqer ʿĀqeli, Dāvar o ʿadliya, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.
Idem, Naḵost-wazirān-e Irān as Mošir-al-Dawla tā Baḵtiār, Tehran, 1370 Š./1991.
Idem, Šarḥ-e ḥāl-e rejāl-e siāsi wa neẓāmi-e moʿāṣer-e Irān, 3 vols., Tehran, 1380 Š./2001, I, pp. 38-40.
Mahdi Bāmdād, Tāriḵ-e rejāl-e Irān dar qorun-e 12 o 13 o 14-e hejri, 6 vols., Tehran, 1347-50 Š./1968-71, V, pp. 188-89.
Eṭṭelāʿāt, nos. 4812, 4819.
Naṣr-Allāh Falsafi, Čand parda az zendagāni-e rejāl-e maʿrūf-e Irāni I, Tehran, 1324 Š./1945.
ʿAbbāsqoli Golšāʾian, “Yāddāšthā,” in Qāsem Ḡani, Yāddāšthā-ye Doktor Qāsem Ḡani, ed. Cyrus Ḡani, 12 vols., London, 1359-63 Š./1980-84, XI, pp. 517-652.
Idem, Goḏaštahā wa andišahā-ye zendagi yā ḵāṭerāt-e man, 2 vols., Tehran, 1377 Š./1998, index. Ebrāhim Ḵᵛāja-nuri, Bāzigarān ʿaṣr-e ṭelāʾi, Tehran, 1324 Š./1945.
ʿAbbās Masʿudi, Eṭṭelāʿāt dar yak robʿ-e qarn, Tehran, 1329 Š./1950.
Ḵosrow Moʿtażed, Reżā Šāh: soquṭ o pas az soqutÂ, Tehran, 1376 Š./1997, p. 148.
Moḥammad Qazvini, “Wafayāt-e moʿāṣerin,” Yadgār 3/3, 1325 Š./1946, pp. 27-39.
ʿIsā Ṣadiq, Yādgār-e ʿomr: ḵāṭerāt-i az sargoḏašt-e Doktor ʿIsā Ṣadiq, 4 vols., Tehran, 1340-2536 (1356) Š./1961-77.
ʿAbd-al-Karim Ṭabāṭabāʾi, ed., Naḵostin sāl-nāma-ye donyā, Tehran, 1324 Š./1945.
Originally Published: July 20, 2002
Last Updated: July 28, 2011Cite this entry:
Bāqer ʿĀqeli, “ĀHI, MAJID,” Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/ahi-majid-1 (accessed on 16 October 2012).