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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.