ERĀDA-YEMELLĪ (lit. national will), a pro-British political party founded on 23 Bahman 1322 Š./19 January 1944 by Sayyed Żīāʾ al-Dīn Ṭabāṭabāʾī (1891-1969), a devout anglophile politician and journalist, who had supported the aborted 1919 Anglo-Persian Treaty (q.v.) and coengineered with Brigadier Reżā Khan (later Reżā Shah) the British-supported coup d’état of 1921 (q.v.). After serving 100 days as prime minister and spending over 22 years in exile in Palestine he returned home in September 1943 to mobilize the rightist factions against the pro-Soviet Tūda party. As a result, for about two years, the Persian political scene became the battleground of fierce rivalry and clashes between pro-Russian and pro-British parties (see COMMUNISM iii; Avery, pp. 362,370; Azimi, p. 51; Bāmdād, V, pp. 122, 126; Ḏawqī, pp. 92, 97; Elwell-Sutton, pp. 51-52).

Reżā Ṣarrāfzāda and a number of his fellow landowners and prosperous merchants, including Kāẓem Kūros, Mahdī Lārī, Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Kāšef, Jawād Ḥarīrī, Qodrat-Allāh Rašīdīān, and Arbāb Mahdī Yazdī supported the party financially. A number of notables also joined the party, among them Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Ebtehāj, Moẓaffar Fīrūz, Nayyer-al-Molk Hedāyat, Esmāʿīl Marzbān, Ḥasan Ṣṟadr, and Colonel Kāẓem Sayyāḥ. Some of the affiliated traders (e.g., Kūros and Rašīdīān) used their political connections to acquire highly profitable permits for importing scarce wartime commodities such as textile, paper, and paint, and they donated a large share of the profit to the party (Ṣafāʾī, pp. 89-90; Nīkbīn, p. 181). The anti-Soviet, anti-Tūda newspaper, Raʿd-e emrūz, with Moẓaffar Fīrūz as its editor-in-chief, became the party’s press organ (it commanded the highest circulation after the daily Eṭṭelāʿāt). Furthermore, the following journalists announced their affiliation to Sayyed Żīāʾ and the party: Sayyed Bāqer Ḥejāzī, editor of Waẓīfa, ʿAlī Jawāher Kalām, editor of Māhūr, Ṣādeq Sarmad, editor of Ṣadā-ye Īrān, ʿAlī Bešārat, editor of Ṣadā-ye waṭan, Moḥsen Sāʿī, editor of Nasīm-e šemāl, Ḥosayn Moṭīʿī, editor of Kānūn, Moḥammad Janābzāda, editor of Nedā-ye āsmānī, and ʿAbd-Allāh Ḵāvarī, editor of Erāda-ye Fārs (Ḏawqī, p. 97; Zehtāb Fard, p. 107).

Originally called Ḥezb-e Waṭan (Fatherland party) and then Ḥezb-e Ḥalqa (lit. ring, circle, link) the party consisted of a hierarchy of ḥalqas or cells of nine members. A member enrolling eight newcomers could form a new cell with himself as the sar-ḥalqa (leader) and party liaison. “This had the attractive aspect of a secret society: members were grouped in circles of nine, responsible only to their circle leader, who in turn was one of a group of nine responsible to a group leader. Each member was addressed by his rank and number only” (Elwell-Sutton, p. 55-56).

Backed by the British support, Sayyed Żīāʾ’s charisma and religio-traditionist views and tactics, his unrelenting zeal in fighting leftist elements and Communist propaganda, and his appeal to propertied classes, guilds men and traders as well as to opportunistic elements, the Erāda-ye Mellī party grew rapidly. Over fifty liaisons of the Tehran branch soon formed an assembly (23 Bahman 1322 Š./19 February 1944), which approved the party’s rules and regulations with its new name, Ḥezb-e Erāda-ye Mellī. The same meeting elected Sayyed Żīāʾ as rahbar-e koll (supreme leader) but he refused to accept the title, choosing instead monšī-e koll (secretary-general). Also elected were Nayyer-al-Molk Hedāyat as chairman of the Tehran assembly, Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Kāšef and ʿAlī-Aṣḡar Forūzān as vice-chairman, Ṣādeq Sarmad, Bahāʾ-al-Dīn Pāzārgādī and Ṣamad ʿĪsābeglū as secretaries; and Mahdī Mawlawī, a Supreme Court judge, as director of the party secretariat (Ṣafāʾī, pp. 89-90; Ārāmeš, p. 47; Zehtāb Fard, p. 111). There were numerous clashes between the Tūda and the Erāda-ye Mellī parties resulting in fatalities. Sayyed Żīāʾ organized a special guard (gorūh-e peykār), led by the well known hoodlums Moṣtafā Zāḡī, Ṣanīʿ Ḵātam, and Ḥasan ʿArab, to fight the Tūda forces (Azimi, pp. 128, 137; Pārsā Tūysarkānī, p. 540; Ṣafāʾī, pp. 50-51; Kīānūrī, pp. 91-92).

However, the indecisive policy of British diplomatic and military forces residing in Persia and the victory of the Labor Government in Britain’s elections, combined with the coming of the United States to the scene and an old public distrust toward the British policies, seem to have demoralized the British-sponsored rightist groups and hence the party’s existence became untenable. Toward the end of Esfand 1324 Š./February 1946, when Prime Minister Aḥmad Qawām was seeking rapprochement with the Soviet Union, he had Sayyed Żīāʾ and his lieutenants arrested and the party shut down. Immediately, some of the affiliated newspapers and journals broke their ties with the party, and editors who had been constant companions of the secretary general abandoned him. Premier Qawām’s action against the Erāda-ye Mellī party made the Soviets see him as an anti-British statesman, thereby bolstering his efforts to negotiate their withdrawal from Azerbaijan (Avery, p. 391; Azimi, p. 149; Arsanjānī, pp. 208-66; Elwell-Sutton, pp. 52, 56; Kīānūrī, pp. 98-100).

In September 1951 Sayyed Żīāʾ, prompted by the British, revived the Erāda-ye Mellī party to bolster his bid for the premiership and the opposition to the popular government of Dr. Moḥammad Moṣaddeq and the oil nationalization movement. His opposition, however, could make no headway and the party collapsed after two month (Avery, p. 424; Ṣafāʾī, p. 91).

See also raʿd; raʿd-e emrūz; żĪāʾ-al-dĪn ṭabāṭabāʾĪ.



Ḥ. Arsanjānī, “Yāddāšthā-ye sīāsī-e Ḥasan Arsanjānī az 1324 tā 1326,” in various issues of Bāmšād, 1336 Š./1957, repr. in J. Mahdīnīā, Zendagī-e sīāsī-e Qawām-al-Salṭana, Tehran, 1365 Š./1986, pp. 188-266.

A. Ārāmeš, Ḵāṭerāt-e sīāsī-e Aḥmad Ārāmeš, ed. Ḡ.-Ḥ. Mīrzā Ṣāleḥ, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.

P. Avery, Modern Iran, London, 1965.

F. Azimi, Iran: The Crisis of Democracy 1941-1953, London, 1989.

Ī. Ḏawqī, Īrān wa qodrathā-ye bozorg dar jang-e jahānī-e dovvom: Pažūheš-ī dar bāra-ye amperīālīzm, Tehran, 1367 Š./1988.

L. P. Elwell-Sutton, “Political Parties in Iran, 1941-1948,” Middle East Journal 6/1, 1949, pp. 48-62.

Jāmī, Goḏašta čerāḡ-e rāh-e āyanda ast, ed. B. Nīkbīn, Tehran, 2nd ed. 1362 Š./1983.

N. Kīānūrī, Ḵāṭerāt, Tehran, 1371 Š./1992.

ʿA. Pārsā Tūysarkānī, “Sayyed Żīāʾ-al-Dīn Ṭabāṭabāʾī,” Waḥīd 13/5, 1354 Š./1975, pp. 39-41.

E. Ṣafāʾī, Čehel ḵāṭera az čehel sāl, Tehran, 1373 Š./1994.

Ḥ. Yaḡmāʾī, “Māt-e Żīāʾ al-Dīn,” Yaḡmā 22, 1348 Š./1969, pp. 344-46.

R. Zehtāb Fard, Ḵāṭerāt dar ḵāṭerāt, Tehran, 1373 Š./1994.

(Pīrāya Yaḡmāʾī)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: December 15, 2011

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Vol. VIII, Fasc. 5, pp. 533-534