RAʿD (Thunder), the name of a newspaper published by Sayyed Żiyāʾ-al-Din Ṭabāṭabāʾi in Tehran, from 5 Āḏar 1292 to 28 Bahman 1299/27 November 1913 to 18 February 1921, with interruptions. Raʿd was preceded by Šarq (east) and Barq (lightning), also published by Seyyed Żiyāʾ. The publishing life of Raʿd was divided into two periods. During the first period, which ended in 1916 when Sayyed Żiyāʾ departed for Russia, Raʿd was issued four times a week in the first year and three times a week after that. During its second period, it appeared daily.

The first period. The government banned the newspaper Barq on 2 Āḏar 1292 /23 November 1913. A month before this, Sayyed Żiyāʾ, in anticipation of the ban, had applied for a license to publish Raʿd but when the first issue appeared four days after the ban, the official permission to publish was still not in hand (Asnād-e maṭbuʿāt, p. 561). During its first period, in contrast with Šarq and Barq, Raʿd had no logo (šeʿār) and was more concerned with news than with propaganda. With the increased tension in Europe, which led eventually to World War I, the newspaper gradually revealed its partiality toward the Allies, especially Great Britain and, by publishing extras, it responded to the public’s desire for the latest news. At the same time, it supported the policies of the Sepahsālār government and was accepted as a semi-official organ of the regime, receiving substantial financial aid from it (Asnād-e maṭbuʿāt, pp. 561-62). Raʿd in this period was less bold and biting than Šarq and Barq had been (Kātuziān Ṭehrāni, p. 970). At one point Mirzā Ḥasan Khan sued the newspaper but the court ruled in its favor. An observer at that time wrote, “today public opinion is ruled by Sayyed Żiyāʾ-al-Din (Neẓām-al-Salṭana, p. 155). Nevertheless, with the advance of the Ottoman army into Persian territory and the probability of a victory by the Central Powers, Sayyed Żiyāʾ, an open supporter of the Allies, suspended the newspaper in Ābān 1295/1916 and departed for Russia. Volume 8 of Raʿd was not published.

The second period. Sayyed Żiyāʾ returned to Tehran in 1917 and in Dey 1296/late December 1917 or early January 1918, began the second period of Raʿd’s publishing history. For the final two years of its publication, Sayyed Żiyāʾ’s title was “Director and Chief Political Editor,” or “Proprietor and Founder” and the actual operation of the newspaper was in the hands of Mirzā ʿAli Qomi “Ḥaqqnevis” (1871-1956). Later Mirzā ʿAli Qomi became Vice-Minister and Acting Minister of justice in the cabinet following the coup-d’etat of 3 Esfand 1299 Š./22 Feb. 1921, and then a representative to the parliament (majles) and a senator. An important regular contributor to Raʿd was Gāspār Epekiyān, the mayor of Tehran (Bahār, I, p. 100; ʿAyn-al-Salṭana, p. 5073), who followed Sayyed Żiyaʾ abroad when the latter was exiled from Persia (Bahār, op. cit.). Other regular contributors were Ḥosayn Khan ʿAdl-al-Molk and Solṭān Moḥammad ʿĀmeri. As many as twelve reporters were said to have worked for the paper during this period (Etteḥādiya, p. 164), but of these we know the name of only Šokr-Allāh Ṣafavi, who later founded the newspaper Kušeš and went on to become a senator.

This period included the most important years of the newspaper’s publication, and it enjoyed great fame and influence. For example, the secretary of the German Embassy described it as “the most important newspaper of the capital” (Sepehr, pp. 186, 212), and the Revue du monde musulman called it “the leading Persian newspaper” (Bouvat, p. 296). Fewer editorials were published during this period and the paper favored short news items, particularly national news, and serialized stories. Examples of the latter include “The Story of Port Saʿid,” describing Sayyed Żiyāʾ’s journey to Egypt, and Sir Henry Mortimer Durand’s historical novel Nader Shah. Politically the paper was more pro-Britain than before, and, during the premiership of Vot3uq-al-Dawla, Sayyed Żiyaʾ strongly supported him and the treaty of 1919 in spite of old differences between them and his own later abrogation of the treaty. In turn, Voṯuq-al-Dawla chose him to head a commission for the conclusion of commercial treaties with the newly-established states in the Caucasus.

Early in Raʿd’s second period of publication, it and all other political papers were suspended for a week in December-January 1917-18 by order of the government of Mostawfi-al-Mamālek (Asnād-e matbuʿāt, pp. 563-64). It ceased publication for good in Esfand 1299/Feb.-Mar. 1921 after Sayyed Żiyāʾ became Prime Minister following the coup of that year.

Raʿd was first printed at the Tehran printing house and later at the Rowšanāʾi printers. Sayyed Żiyāʾ had established the latter press after importing a printing press and other equipment from Germany. The paper’s numbering continued that of Šarq and Barq; thus Raʿd began with vol. 5. Its format was four to six pages of five columns each and measured 41 x 56 cm. (A. Ṭabāṭabāʾi, p. 223). The usual print run was said to be 1,500 copies (Ṣadr-e Hāšemi, no. 580; Neẓām-al-Salṭana, p. 155; Mehrad, p. 72). Aḥmad Ṭabāṭabāʾi wrote that the press run reached 12,000 copies per day, of which 8,000 were sold in Tehran (A. Ṭabāṭabāʾi, op. cit.). As mentioned above, sometimes the paper would print one-page extras selling for one šāhi, which might explain Ṭabāṭabāʾi’s claim of a high print run.

The price of a single copy of Raʿd varied greatly, as did the price of subscriptions. In the first year, the price was fifty-five qerāns for Tehran, sixty for the rest of the country, and eighty for other countries (when one qerān = one riyāl or 1/10 of a tomān), and in its last year it was eighty qerāns for Persia and one hundred abroad.

Raʿd carried a significant amount of advertising. During its first period, the price per line of advertising on page 1 was three qerāns and two qerāns for p. 2. The paper did not publish the price for advertising during its second period.

With regard to the paper’s finances, in addition to revenue from sales of copies and advertising, Raʿd received a subsidy from the government and did not shun both direct and indirect aid from foreign sources (Asnād-e maṭbuʿāt, p. 562; Rāporthā-ye polis-e maḵfi, p. 192). A report to the State Department by the American ambassador refers explicitly to the regular support of the British for the paper (Ḡani, p. 205). During World War I, the German Embassy gave financial assistance to a number of Persian papers and proposed the same arrangement to the director of Raʿd. He, however, refused such aid, apparently because of his connections with Germany’s enemy Great Britain. The German Embassy resolved the matter by taking out ninety-one subscriptions to the paper (Sepehr, p. 186).

Incomplete sets of Raʿd are held by major libraries within and without Persia, such as the Academy of Sciences of Baku, Cambridge University, the Library of Congress in Washington, and Princeton University.



Iraj Afšār, ed., Rāporthā-ye polis-e maḵfi az šāyeʿāt-e šahri-e sālhā-ye 1334 wa 1336, Tehran, 1984, p. 192.

Yaḥyā Ārianpur, Az Ṣabā tā Nimā, 3 vols., Tehran, 1972-95, II, pp. 108, 223, 224.

Touraj Atabaki and Solmaz Rustamova-Towhidi, Baku Documents: Union Catalogue of Persian, Azerbaijani, Ottoman Turkish and Arabic Serials and Newspapers in the Libraries of Republic of Azerbaijan, London and New York, 1995, no. 768.

ʿAyn-al-Salṭana Qahramān Mirzā Sālur, Ruz-nāma-ye ḵāṭerāt-e ʿAyn-al-Salṭana, ed. Masʿud Sālur and Iraj Afšār, 10 vols., Tehran, 1995-2001, p. 5073.

Moḥammad-Taqi Bahār, Tāriḵ-e moḵtaṣar-e aḥzāb-e siāsi-e Irān I, Tehran, 1978, p. 100.

Kāva Bayāt and Masʿud Kuhestāni-nežād, eds., Asnād-e maṭbuʿāt, 1288-1320 H. Š., 2 vols., Tehran, 1993, I, pp. 561-64.

Lucien Bouvat, “Opinions et informations du Raʿd de Teheran,” RMM 30, 1915, p. 296.

“Durnemā-ye Iran,” Kāva 5/2, 1 Jomādā II 1338/ 21 February, 1920.

“Eḵtār,” Jangal, no. 21, 18 Rabiʿ I, 1336.

Šahin Esfandiāri et al., Maṭbuʿāt-e Irān: fehrest-e taḥlili-e ketāb-ḵāna-ye Majles-e senā, Tehran, 1979, p. 106.

Manṣura Etteḥādiya (Neẓām Māfi), Majles wa enteḵābāt az mašruṭa tā pāyān-e qājāriya, Tehran, 1996, p. 164.

Cyrus Ghani, Iran and the Rise of Reza: From Qajar Collapse to Pahlavi Power, tr. Ḥsan Kāmšād as Irān: barāmadan-e Reżā Ḵān, baroftādan-e Qājār wa naqš-e Engelishā, Tehran, 1998.

ʿAbbās Ḵalili, Dar āyina-ye tāriḵ: ḵāṭerāt-e siāsi-e ʿAbbās Ḵalili, modir-e ruz-nāma-ye Eqdām, ed. Mohammad Golbon, Tehran, 2001, p. 28.

Moḥammad-ʿAli Kātuziān Tehrāni, Mošāhadāt wa taḥlil-e ejtemāʿi wa siāsi az tāriḵ-e enqelāb-e mašruṭiyat-e Irān, Tehran, 2000, p. 970.

Guʾel Kohan, Tāriḵ-e sānsur dar maṭbuʿāt-e Irān, 2 vols., Tehran, 1981-83, II, pp. 647-48.

Rudolf Mach and Robert D. McChesney, “A List of Persian Serials in the Princeton University Library,” Unpublished Monograph, Princeton, N.J., 1971.

Ḥosayn Makki, Tāriḵ-e bist-sāla-ye Irān I, Tehran, 1979, pp. 181-82.

Ahmad Mehrad, Die Deusche Pénétration pacifique des Iranichen preseenwesens 1909-1936, Frankfurt on the Main, 1983, p. 72.

Ḵalil Moqaddam, Fehrest-e ruz-nāmahā-ye mawjud dar ketāb-ḵāna-ye markazi-e Fārs ..., Shiraz, 1998, no. 147.

Ḥasan Morselvand, Asnād-e kudetā-ye sevvom-e Esfand 1299, Tehran, 1995, pp. 5-6.

Reżāqoli Khan Neẓām-al-Salṭana , Mokātabāt wa morāsalāt, ed. Manṣura Etteḥādiya (Neẓām Māfi), III, Tehran, 2000, p. 155.

Šāhroḵ Peymāʾi, Fehrest-e ruz-nāmahā-ye mawjud dar ketāb-ḵāna-ye markazi-e Dānešgāh-e Eṣfahān, Isfahan, 1983, p. 41.

Ibrahim V. Pourhadi, Persian and Afghan Newspapers in the Library of Congress 1871-1978, Washington, D.C, 1979, no. 231.

Moḥammad-Esmāʿil Reżwāni, “Sayr-i kutāh dar tāriḵča-ye ruz-nāma-negāri-e Sayyed Ẓiāʾ-al-Din Ṭabāṭabāʾi,” Ganjina-ye asnād, 2/1-2, 1992, pp. 68-71.

Moḥammad Ṣadr Hāšemi, Jarāʾed wa majallāt, 4 vols., Isfahan, 1948-53, II, pp. 320-21.

Bižan Sartipzāda and Kobrā Ḵodāparast, Fehrest-e ruz-nāmahā-ye mawjud dar Ketāb-ḵāna-yemelli, Tehran, 1977, no. 230.

Aḥmad-ʿAli Mowarreḵ-a-l-Dawla Sepehr, Irān dar jang-e bozorg, 1914-1918, Tehran, 1978, pp. 186, 212.

Ursula Sims-Williams, Union Catalogue of Persian Serials and Newspapers in British Libraries, London, 1985, no. 493.

Giti Šokri, “Fehrest-e ruz-nāmahā wa majallahā-ye fārsi dar Moʾassasa-ye āsiāʾi-e Dānešgāh-e Širāz,” FIZ 27, p. 370.

Mortażā Solṭāni, Fehrest-e ruz-nāmahā-yefārsi dar majmuʿa-ye Ketāb-ḵāna-ye markazi wa markaz-e asnād-e Dānešgāh-e Tehrān... 1267 qamari tā 1320 šamsi, Tehran, 1977,no. 185.

Aḥmad Ṭabāṭabāʾi, “Be’l-aḵara šāh hezār tumān pardāḵt kard,” Sāl-nāma-ye donyā 11, 1955, p. 223.

Moḥammad Moḥiṭ Ṭabāṭabāʾi, Tāriḵ-e taḥlili-e maṭbuʿāt-e Irān, Tehran, 1987, p. 164.

(Nasreddin Parvin)

Originally Published: July 20, 2004

Last Updated: July 20, 2004