Abdol-Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma
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|Abdol-Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma
شاهزاده عبدالحسين ميرزا فرمانفرما
|Abdol-Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma|
|Prime Minister of Iran|
1 February 1915 – 2 July 1915
|Monarch||Ahmad Shah Qajar|
|Preceded by||Mostowfi ol-Mamalek|
|Succeeded by||Abdol Majid Mirza|
25 December 1915 – 1 March 1916
|Monarch||Ahmad Shah Qajar|
|Preceded by||Mostowfi ol-Mamalek|
|Succeeded by||Vosough od-Dowleh|
|Political party||E'tedalion Party|
|Alma mater||Austrian Military Academy in Tehran|
Prince Abdol-Hossein Mirza (c. 1859 – 1939) was one of the most prominent Qajar princes, and one of the most influential politicians of his time in Persia. He was born to Prince Nosrat Dowleh Firouz Mirza (circa) 1859, and died in November 1939 at the age of 80. He was the 16th grandson of the Qajar crown prince Abbas Mirza. He fathered 24 sons and 12 daughters by 8 wives. He lived to see four sons die within his lifetime.
Prince Abdol Hossein was born to Prince Nosrat Dowleh Firouz Mirza in approximately 1859 through his wife Hajieh Homa Khanoum. His youth was spent perfecting the arts of swordmanship, poetry, hunting, riding, calligraphy, ceremonial etiquette, and other subjects required of a Persian nobleman. He continued his education at the Austrian Military Academy in Tehran where he distinguished himself as a soldier and strategist. He also showed himself to be an enthusiastic builder of bridges and roads, with a very keen interest in new Western sciences and social improvements. By 1882, following his time in the academy, he reached the rank of colonel and took command of the military units in the province of Kerman. Two years later in 1884, he was re-assigned to Iranian Azarbaijan where he became the Commander of the Qarasuran Corps (Gendarmerie and Security Administration). In 1886, Abdol Hossein Mirza's father died. In recognition of his distinguished military service, he is awarded the title of "Amir Tooman" in 1887. Shortly afterwards he married Princess Ezzat-Dowleh, daughter of the king and his first of four wives, in 1888. At the time he was approximately thirty years old. Following the marriage, and out of respect for Ezzat-Dowleh and also due to her high social rank, he took no other wives for the next twenty years. During part of this time he served as Commander in Chief of the Army in Azarbaijan, Governor of Kerman (twice), Governor of Kurdistan, Governor of Fars, Governor of Kermanshah, and Governor of Azarbaijan. In his capacity as governor he founded one of Iran's first secular schools for girls.
In 1899, due to the intrigues of the Mozzafar-al-Din Shah's entourage he was exiled to Baghdad in Ottoman Mesopotamia. His wife Princess Ezzat-Dowleh (Mozafar din Shah's daughter), voluntarily fled with him into exile and stayed with him for five years. She was then able to convince the Shah to let Abdol Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma return. Upon his return Abol Hossein sent his sons to schools in Europe, leaving his wife very much alone. The two grew further apart as time passed.
In 1906 the ascendance of her brother Mohammad Ali Shah to the throne plunged the country into civil war again as the new shah tried to crush the democratic movement. During the Iranian Civil War Farmanfarma sided with the constitutionalists who were victorious. He continued his government service by holding the posts of Minister of Justice and War Minister. He also became the leader of a party of conservative moderates. In his role as Minister for Justice he introduced the Western custom of court trials into the Persian legal system.
Eventually, Farmanfarma was dispatched by the Shah to Tabriz in order to make peace between warring Persian and Kurdish tribes. During his stay there he had married his second wife, the daughter of a Kurdish mountain chief, in order to seal a pact. The young Kurdish bride had actually been sent back to her tribe and died a few years later. Princess Ezzat-Dowleh and Abdol Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma grew even more apart and the two became completely estranged.
In 1911 Farmanfarma married his second true wife, Masoumeh Khanoum who was accepted by a very lonely Princess Ezzat-Dowleh amidst the chaos of the civil war. Abdol Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma returned to Tehran in 1915 after quelling the secession in the west of Iran. With his arrival he brought his third wife, named Batul (the marriage, like that of his Kurdish wife, was to seal a pact).
Farmanfarma was in Tehran for only one year, serving first as War Minister and then as Prime Minister. For most of his tenure he was trying to keep the country unified, which he successfully managed to do. During his time as Prime Minister, he established the Ministry of Health, and created the Pasteur Institute of Iran whose first action was to introduce a smallpox vaccine that saved countless lives. After only three months he resigned from the post of Prime Minister. In 1916, he returned to Shiraz for his second appointment as governor general of the Fars province.
On his arrival in Shiraz, the entire province was in total chaos. His first task was to prevent the spread of a famine. He carried this out by organising Iran's first agricultural cooperative. To ensure his acceptance by the people of Shiraz he took a wife, Fatimeh Khanoum, from one of the leading local families. He also raised an all-Iranian regiment to restore security and order to the province with the help of British General Sykes who referred to Farmanfarma as "my friend" in his famous History of Persia. Sykes also went on to praise Farmanfarma as "one of the ablest men in Iran". Farmanfarma for his part was a well known Anglophile.
He completed his term as the governor of Shiraz in 1921 when he was replaced by his nephew Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. Upon his return to Tehran he was arrested, with two of his elder sons (Nosrat Dowleh the foreign minister, Abbas Mirza Salar-Lashgar a general), by Reza Shah who had just taken power in a coup. He spent the next three months in the Qasr-e-Qajar jail until Reza Shah had proclaimed himself War Minister and consolidated his power base. Upon his release Abdol Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma retired from politics and tended to his remaining estates and villages from Tehran after a great portion of them were confiscated by Reza Shah. He spent his final years under house arrest suffering from gout, arthritis, and insomnia. He died in 1939 and is buried in the Shrine of Shazdeh Abdol Azim.
Historical Anecdote 
The founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, Reza Shah, then known as Reza Khan or "Master Reza" was a sergeant in the household guard known for his bravery and strength. When Farmanfarma equipped his unit with Maxim Machine Guns he promoted Reza Khan to the rank of officer and gave him command of a gun. After that, Reza Khan was to be known as "Reza Khan-i-Maximi": Machine-Gun Reza. Over the next 14 years Reza Khan progressed to the rank of Field Commander under the command of Farmanfarma before becoming involved in a British backed coup to establish himself as the new Shah. After the coup in 1921, Farmanfarma demanded to see Reza Khan when he heard that two of his sons had been arrested. When he walked into Reza Khan room, Reza Khan (the Minister of War) jumped to attention in respect for his old commander. It was Reza Khan's Prime Minister, Seyeed Zia who managed to get Farmanfarma arrested and put into jail for three months while Reza Khan consolidated his power base. Farmanfarma was released the minute Syeed Zia was taken to jail himself.
Name and Title 
His full official name and title was Hazrat Aghdas Vala Shahzadeh Abdol Hossein Mirza Farman-Farma. This translates directly as "His Highness, Prince Abdol Hossein, the Eminent and Exalted One, the Greatest of All Commanders." When surnames became compulsory he took his last title as his family name., viz. Farman-Farma literally translating to "Greatest of All Commanders".
The title "Farman Farma" did not originate with Prince Abdol-Hossein Mirza Farman Farma. It was first held by his grand-uncle Hossein Ali Mirza Farman Farma, Abbas Mirza Nayeb Saltaneh's younger half-brother. Prince Abdol Hossein Mirza's father, Prince Firouz Mirza would battle his own uncle, Prince Hossein Ali Mirza Farman Farma, in support his brother Prince Mohammad Mirza (later Mohammad Shah Qajar) and win the right to the succession for Prince Mohammad Mirza. Forty years later, Nasser-al-Din Shah, Firouz Mirza's nephew, would bestow the title Farman Farma on Prince Firouz Mirza in gratitude for his role in consolidating the succession to the Qajar (Kadjar) Throne. The title Farman Farma then passed on to his son Prince Abdol Hossein Mirza, during the reign of Nasser-ed-Din Shah. Nasser-ed-din Shah and Prince Abdol Hossein Mirza were cousins, but Nasser-ed-Din Shah was about thirty years his senior. Only Prince Abdol Hossein Mirza carried the title "Farman-Farma", while his offspring carry the family name derived from the former title "Farman-Farmaian" (lit. Those belonging to Farman-Farma)
Non Persian Honors 
He was awarded the following honors outside of Persia:
Contrary to many Persian politicians and royal household members at the time and due to the uncertain political climate, Farmanfarma felt that his sons and daughters should obtain modern European educations as opposed to Classical Persian Educations. He ensured that they worked particularly hard towards this goal throughout their lives. As a consequence the vast majority of his sons and daughters, after having obtained first class educations, went on to work in senior and key roles throughout the Iranian government from the turn of the century through to the 1970s.
- From Princess Ezzat-ed-Dowleh
- From Mah Begom Khanoum
- From Masoumeh Khanoum
- Prince Sabar Mirza Farman Farmaian
- Princess Jabbareh Farman Farmaian
- Princess Sattareh Farman Farmaian
- Prince Farough Farman Farmaian
- Princess Homeyra Farman Farmaian
- Prince Ghaffar Farman Farmaian
- Princess Soraya Farman Farmaian
- Prince Haroun-al-Rashid Farman Farmaian
- Princess Khorshid Farman Farmaian
- From Batoul Khanoum
- Princess Maryam Farman Farmaian
- Princess MehrMah Farman Farmaian
- Prince Manucher Mirza Farman Farmaian
- Prince Abdol-Aziz Mirza Farman Farmaian
- Prince Abol-Bashar Mirza Farman Farmaian
- Princess Leyla Farman Farmaian
- Princess Heideh Farman Farmaian
- Prince Cyrus Farman Farmaian
- Prince Abdol-Ali Mirza Farman Farmaian
- From Fatemeh Khanoum
- From Hamdam Khanoum
- From Akhtar Zaman Khanoum
- From Batoul Khanoum (II)
Government Positions Held 
- Commander in Chief of the Army in Azarbaijan.
- Commander of the Gendarmerie
- Governor of Tehran (1896)
- Governor of Kerman (1892–1893), and (1894–1896)
- Governor of Kurdistan (1894)
- Governor of Fars (1897–1898), and (1916)
- Governor of Kermanshah (1903)
- Governor of Azarbaijan (1907)
- Governor of Isfahan (1908)
- Minister of Justice (1907), (1909)
- Minister of War (1896–1897)
- Minister of Interior (1910), (1915)
- Prime Minister (1915), (1915-1916)
See also 
- History of Persia
- History of Iran
- Qajar Dynasty of Iran
- List of Prime Ministers of Iran
- Abdolhossein Teymourtash
- Farmanieh district of Tehran
- The Qajar (Kadjar) Pages
- Qajars Dynasty Turkoman dynasty of the Shahs of Persia
- Tha Kadjar Family Association
- Daughter of Persia, Sattareh Farman Farmaian with Dona Munker; Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1992
- Blood and Oil: Memoirs of a Persian Prince, Manucher Mirza Farman Farmaian. Random House, New York, 1997.
|Prime Minister of Iran
Abdol Majid Mirza
|Prime Minister of Iran