مركز وثائق الثورة الإسلامية

News ID: 135
Haj Molla Ali Kani, one of the famous Shiite clerics of Tehran, protested against the Reuter Agreement. He and a number of other Shiite religious leaders resisted against Mirza Hussein Khan Sepahsalar and announced that Sepahsalar is a disbeliever.
Publish Date : 12:09 - 2020 April 26
IRDC.IR:  Nasereddin Shah, the Qajarid king, made his first trip to Europe in 1290 AH (1873 AD). Encouraged by Mirza Hussein Khan Sepahsalar, the Shah made several concessions to Baron Julius de Reuter. 

The two sides concluded an agreement according to which Reuter was supposed to establish a railroad from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea. 

In return, Iran committed itself to make various concessions to Reuter: providing necessary lands and equipments; monopoly of utilization of mines of coal, iron, copper, lead, and oil; and utilization of Iranian forests and marine resources. 

In addition, two other concessions were made to Reuter: the lease of Iranian customs for 25 years and the license for establishing banks and credit institutions in Iran. The concessions for the distribution of natural gas, development of Tehran municipality, establishment of roads and telegraph stations, and a lot of other concessions were made to Reuter. 

In return, Reuter was supposed to pay 20 percent of the net revenues of railroads and 15 percent of revenues obtained from forests and marine resources to the Iranian government. This agreement was quite shocking for everyone. 

A brief study of the Reuter Agreement raises this question that how a Shah can give all these concessions to an alien national without receiving any valuable dispensation in return. This disgraceful agreement was concluded with the encouragement of Mirza Hussein Khan Sepahsalar and other westernized politicians of Nasereddin Shah’s era. Upon receiving this news, Shiite clerics reacted severely. 

Haj Molla Ali Kani, one of the famous Shiite clerics of Tehran, protested against the Reuter Agreement. He and a number of other Shiite religious leaders resisted against Mirza Hussein Khan Sepahsalar and announced that Sepahsalar is a disbeliever. 

They wrote numerous letters to Nasereddin Shah and demanded him not to bring Mirza Hussein Khan Sepahsalar to Tehran. Nasereddin Shah received these letters in Rasht, on his way back to the capital. 

Since Shiite clerics were quite powerful at that time, the Shah was forced to comply with their demands. Therefore, the Shah appointed Mirza Hussein Khan Sepahsalar as the governor of Gilan and did not take him back to Tehran.

Thus, the Reuter Agreement was cancelled through undeniable efforts of Shiite clerics and religious leaders. Ahmad Kasravi, History of Iranian Constitutionalism, Tehran, Amir Kabir Publication Co., 1978, p. 10.  

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