Iran and Its Boundaries in Challenging with Foreign Relation (1789 - 1836)

By Aghazadeh, Jafar; Nezhad, Morteza Dehgan et al. | Asian Culture and History, July 2012 | Go to article overview

Iran and Its Boundaries in Challenging with Foreign Relation (1789 - 1836)


Aghazadeh, Jafar, Nezhad, Morteza Dehgan, Abade, Asgr Mahmud, Asian Culture and History


Abstract

From ancient times, Iran's boundaries were formed by Iranian kings' struggles. From that time, an imagination about these boundaries was formed in Iranian minds and has been continued until now. So, one of the important duties of Iranian kings was to expand Iran's boundaries to that of ancient times. The aim of this research is to investigate Iran's relations with European countries and the role of these relations in forming the Iran's boundaries from 1789 to 1828. In this research, a descriptive-analytic method is used. The findings of this research show that in Qajar dynasty, Agha Muhammad Khan and Fath Ali shah made some great attempts to expand Iran's boundaries to that of ancient times in order to, through which, can legitimate their rule on Iran. These actions made Iran to enter European countries' politics widely. Russia advanced in Caucasus and the Britain entered Iran's affairs widely to protect its realms in India, and France set a relationship with Iran in order to access India. Entrance of the unknowledgeable Iranians in international politics led to Iranian amazement, and European countries' interference in forming the Iran's boundaries, and, step by step, Iran lost some of its parts.

Keywords: Iran, Agha Muhammad Khan, Fath Ali shah, Iran's boundaries, international politics

1. Introduction

During their long history, Iranians have had a lucid imagination from Iran's boundaries, and always expected from their kings to expand Iran's boundaries to its real limitations; therefore, that was one of the most important duties of Iranian kings in Iranian minds, and was one of the factors of Iranian king's success and their popularity among people. In Iran's Islamic era, the Safavid dynasty could expand Iran's boundaries to its ancient limitations. Then, Agha Muhammad Khan made great attempts to, restoration Iran's boundaries and, to do so; he had to encounter with Russians but his early death prevented him from a severe challenge with them. His Successor, Fath Ali Shah paid much attention to expand Iran's boundaries to Khurasan and Caucasus, and his attempts made him to fight with Russians, but, because of being less powerful than them, he had to ask for help from France and, then, the Britain. Iran's geographical position on the borders of Russia, India and the Persian Gulf turned her into a natural target in the political struggle between France and Britain early in the 19th century and that between Russia and Britain throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. Political and strategic interests were of primary concern to both Britain and Russia. Britain was mainly covered with preserving the formal independence and integrity of Iran in order to defend the Indian empire. This required her to retain control of the Persian Gulf, to keep all other powers out of it, and to safeguard southern and eastern Iran. Russia deprived Iran of her Transcaucasia territories in the first half of 19th century. Both Britain and Russia were striving to exercise as much influence as possible on the Qajar rulers in order to gain support for their actions in Iran and to repel their rivals. Qajar's unawareness to International politics in these relations and their trust to Europeans, Iranians bore lots of loses. Europeans' interference in Iran's affairs and their avarice led to separation of some parts of Iran. Until now, no serious research has been done about Qajar's attempts for restoration of Iran's boundaries and the role of European countries in separation of Iran's parts in early years of Qajar dynasty; therefore, the lack of research in this area was the incentive of this study. Using a descriptive- analytic method, this research is to investigate Iran's relations with European countries and their interference in forming Iran's boundaries in early years of Qajar dynasty.

2. Agha Muhammad Khan and Iran Boundaries

Iran had a long tradition and background as a great empire ruled by a King of Kings and the important task of the early Qajar kings, having restored internal security, was to recover the border areas and restore the empire to the preceding Safavid limits. …

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