Abol-Fath Khan Zand
|Abol-Fath Khan Zand|
|Shah of Iran|
|Predecessor||Mohammad Ali Khan|
|Successor||Sadeq Khan Zand|
Zand Palace, Shiraz
After the death of Karim Khan in 1779, two factions emerged, one supporting Abol-Fath, one his younger brother Mohammad Ali Khan Zand. Both were still children, and were pawns in the game of power. Karim Khan's brother Zaki Khan managed to proclaim Mohammad Ali Khan, his own son-in-law, as shah of the Zand dynasty but soon after, he also made Abol-Fath joint ruler of Iram. Both Mohammad Ali and Abol-Fath only held nominal power during their reigns, as their uncle was the effective master of the government. As another brother of Karim Khan, Sadeq Khan Zand, had left Shiraz, then the capital, and was gathering an army in Kerman ostensibly in support of Abol-Fath Khan, Zaki Khan even had Abol-Fath imprisoned.
To add to the political trouble, right after the death of Karim Khan, the Qajar prince Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar, who had until then been a hostage in Shiraz, in order to prevent an outbreak of war between the Qajars, who still dominated the North of the country, and the Zands, escaped promptly and reached his stronghold of Mazandaran. Subsequently, he took command of his tribe in Astarabad, and declared independence from the Zand Shah. To counter that move, Zaki Khan dispatched the Iranian army under the command of his nephew, Ali-Morad Khan Zand against the Qajar lord. Soon however, it appeared that Ali-Morad Khan had rebelled against him and captured Isfahan. On the other hand, Zaki Khan had levied high taxes on the landlords and put to death and tortured anyone who had resisted. Subsequently his own army rebelled and killed Zaki Khan as he was marching on Isfahan, on June 6, 1779.
Meanwhile, Abol-Fath's other uncle Sadeq Khan had by then returned to Shiraz from Kerman with an army. Upon reception of the news of Zaki Khan's demise, on June 19, 1779, he had Abol-Fath proclaimed sole official ruler of Iran. Sadeq held the real power, while Abol-Fath, according to most accounts, was satisfied with a life of pleasures, and did not take any part in the administration of the Empire. This situation did not however suit Sadeq Khan for long. Only two months after Abol-Fath's installation, on August 22, 1779, Sadeq Khan had him deposed and was proclaimed Shah instead. Abol-Fath was blinded, either on Sadeq Khan's orders, or two years later when Shiraz fell to Ali-Morad Khan. He died in 1787, aged 32.
- W. William Bayne Fisher; P. Avery; G. R. G. Hambly; C. Melville (10 October 1991). The Cambridge History of Iran. VII. Cambridge University Press. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-521-20095-0. Retrieved 28 July 2013.
- Encyclopedia Iranica, "Abu’l-Fath Khan Zand"
- Rulers of Iran
- Iranology - History of Iran, Part XIII: Afshar and Zand Dynasties 
Mohammad Ali Khan Zand
|Shah of Iran
Sadeq Khan Zand