Ahmad Shah Qajar
The last Qajar Dynasty King
Sultan Ahmad Shah, (front) - Behind him stands Sardar Sepah
(Reza Shah Pahlavi)
who will subsequently overthrow the Qajar dynasty. Seen on the picture are:
Crown prince Mohammad Hassan Mirza and Prime Minister Ghavam Saltaneh
Sultan Ahmad, the last of the Qajars, was, in the words of his distant cousin the Aga Khan, "an extremely intelligent young man, highly educated, with a wide knowledge of both Eastern and Western culture, and well read in history, politics, and economic theory." Unlike most Middle Eastern rulers, he was also a constitutional monarch with no desire to be absolute. However, surrounded by ambitious and unprincipled courtiers, he grew up unable to believe in himself or the future of his dynasty. Thus he failed to inspire the respect necessary for effective government in Persia.
Ruled by a kind monarch who hardly cared for his throne and by weak and
incompetent ministers, Persians felt a need for change. In 1924 bega a movement inspired
by Reza Khan Sardar Sepah (later Reza Shah) in favor of a republic. But the mullahs were
still leaders of of public opinion and associated a republic with the anti-Musli policies
of the republic installed in Turkey by Mustafa Kemal. Thus Reza Khan decided to replace
the monarch instead of the monarchy. In 1926 Ahmad Shah was on a trip to Europe, but in
November, the Shah's announcement that he intended to return hastened the deposition of
his dynasty. One of the four speakers in the Majles (parliament) against the motion to
depose Ahmad Shah was Mossadegh, a relation of the Qajars and the future popular Prime
Minister of the 1952-53 oil crisis. On 12 December Reza Khan became Reza Shah, and on 25
April 1926 he crowned himself in the Golestan Palace.
Extracts from "Sultans in Splendor" by Peter Mansel - The Vendome Press New York and Paris - ISBN: 0-86565-109-4
Read article by Professor Manou Eskandari Qajar October 2003
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