ʿEDĀLAT (Ar. ʿAdālat “justice”), ḤEZB-E, Persian political party founded by ʿAlī Daštī in December 1941. After the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia in August 1941 Daštī, until then an ardent supporter of Reżā Shah (1924-41), was one of the first Majles deputies to defy him publicly and to advocate investigating the conduct and record of his regime (Moḏākarāt-e Majles, 1 Mehr 1320 Š./23 September 1941). He subsequently assumed a more prominent role, including formalizing his network of friends as the ʿEdālat Party. Other party leaders were Jamāl Emāmī and Ebrāhīm Kᵛāja-Nūrī, a Belgian-educated journalist, lawyer, politician, essayist, and self-proclaimed psychologist. The latter served as director of the government press and propaganda bureau (Edāra-ye tablīḡāt wa entešārāt) but resigned his position on 16 November 1947 because of disagreement with the prime minister, Aḥmad Qawām (Le Rougetel to Bevin, 25 November 1947, Foreign Office [F.O.] 371/61992). Other leading personalities in the party included Faraj-Allāh Bahrāmī, former chief secretary to Reżā Shah, governor-general of Isfahan and Fārs, and in the 1940s minister of the interior; Jamšīd Aʿlam, an influential physician and politician; and Abu’l-Qāsem Amīnī, a Majles deputy and governor-general of Isfahan, who later joined Qawām’s short-lived Democrat Party (Ḥezb-e demokrāt-e Īrān) and who, in early April 1953, became acting court minister.
The ʿEdālat Party was an association somewhat resembling a private club, with little organizational cohesion or collective sense of identity. Its vague ideological character consisted of center-right nationalism broadly aimed at promoting the interests or enlisting the support of the privileged and middle classes and at attracting “deputies and other notables” (Elwell-Sutton, 1949, p. 49). Like the majority of groups that emerged after the abdication of Reżā Shah, the ʿEdālat Party, with about 400 members, was essentially a vehicle for serving or furthering the political objectives and ambitions of Daštī and his friends and supporters (Bennett, Memorandum on Political Parties in Persia, 7 August 1943, F.O. 371/35074). The party program consisted mainly of general advocacy of reforms in the administration and legal and educational systems, but it also encompassed more specific objectives, like reduction of the military budget and employment of American military advisers (Abrahamian, p. 192).
ʿEdālat initially enjoyed the support of the newspaper Mehr-e Īrān, managed by Majīd Mowaqqar. In January 1944 the party began to publish its own newspaper, Bahrām, which had been licensed in the name of ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān Farāmarzī, editor of Keyhān. A few months later Bahrām was replaced by Nedā-ye ʿedālat, licensed in the name of Kᵛāja-Nūrī, which began publication in May-June 1944.
The party did not follow a distinct or consistent policy vis-à-vis any government. In July 1942 it began to oppose the government of ʿAlī Sohaylī, who had promised but failed to appoint Bahrāmī minister of the interior (Bullard to Eden, 28 July 1942, F.O. 371/31443). Later it did not hesitate long in joining the opposition to Prime Minister Qawām, but it backed the bitterly contested government of Moḥsen Ṣadr (Ṣadr-al-Ašrāf), which lasted from June to October 1945.
Toward the end of World War II and immediately afterward, as ideological conflict intensified in the country and the power of the Tudeh (Tūda) Party grew (see COMMUNISM ii), the ʿEdālat Party assumed a clearer anticommunist character and became more openly identified with Western interests. On 22 May 1946 Qawām, seeking to placate the Soviet government and the Tudeh Party, in order to bring about the evacuation of Soviet forces from Persian soil and to put an end to the Soviet-backed “autonomous government” in Azerbaijan (iv-v) and the “republic” in Kurdistan, thus detained a number of leading pro-Western politicians, including Daštī and Emāmī. They were released six months later, but the ʿEdālat party itself faded away.
The leading members of the party, particularly Daštī, Emāmī, and Kᵛāja-Nūrī, were skilled political brokers and enjoyed wide networks of contacts; they continued to collaborate informally and to play important roles in Persian politics, including direct or indirect cooperation with pro-British attempts to bring down the government of Moḥammad Moṣaddeq (May 1951-August 1953; Pyman, minute, 5 September 1951; Jackson, minute, 21 September 1951, F.O. 241/1514; Falle, minutes, 29 April, 24, 26 June 1952, F.O. 241/1531).
E. Abrahamian, Iran between Two Revolutions, Princeton, N.J., 1982.
F. Azimi, Iran. The Crisis of Democracy, 1941-1953, London and New York, 1989.
A. Eḥtešāmī, “Āqā-ye Daštī,” in A. Eḥtešāmī, Bāzīgarān-e sīāsat, Tehran, 1328 Š./1949, pp. 71-83.
L. P. Elwell-Sutton, “The Iranian Press, 1941-47,” Iran 6, 1968, pp. 65-104.
Idem, “Political Parties in Iran, 1941-1948,” Middle East Journal 3/1, 1949, pp. 45-62.
E. Ḵᵛāja-Nūrī, “Daštī,” in E. Kᵛāja-Nūrī, Bāzīgarān-e ʿasÂr-e ṭelāʾī, Tehran, 1340 Š./1961, pp. 159-204.
J. E. Knörzer, Ali Dashti’s Prison Days. Life under Reza Shah, Costa Mesa, Calif., 1994.
F. Nabawī, ed., Noṭqhā-ye Jamāl Emāmī dar dawra-ye šānzdahom-e Majles-e šūrā-ye mellī, Tehran, 1332 Š./1953.
ʿA.-A. Saʿīdī-Sīrjānī, “Pīr-e mā,” in ʿA.-A. Saʿīdī-Sīrjānī, Dar āstīn-e moraqqaʿ, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984, pp. 329-50.
(Fakhreddin Azimi )
Originally Published: December 15, 1997
Last Updated: December 8, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 2, pp. 173-174