Ahmad Qavam: Churchill of Iran
AHMAD QAVAM (GHAVAM OL-SALTANEH) (1876 -1955 AD) PRIME MINISTER OF IRAN Born in 1876 into an important Iranian family, at the beginning of his career he served at the royal court of Nasereddin Shah Qajar. He slowly rose through the ranks and obtained the title of Ghavam al-Saltaneh during the Iranian constitutional revolution. Hasan Vothuq (also known as Vothuq al-Dowleh) was his older brother.
The letter signed by Mozaffaredin Shah accepting the Iranian Constitutional Revolution was drafted by Qavam, who at the time held the title of Dabir-e Hozoor (Private Secretary). Indeed, Qavam was instrumental in the Iranian constitutional revolution. He became prime minister several times during the Qajar and Pahlavi dynasties. Whenever the country needed him, he accepted the challenge. He played an important role in preventing the USSR from separating the northern states from Iran twice. Qavam actually ordered the arrest of Seyyed Zia'eddin Tabatabaee and also ordered the suppression of Colonel Pesian's revolt which he put down with the help of Reza Shah the Great. Among the major events that occurred during his tenure as Prime Minister was his invitation to Arthur Millspaugh to help the government with its finances. Another was the riots of 1942 due to economic difficulties. He appointed General Ahmad Amir-Ahmadi to restore order and put an end to the riots, which he did forcefully. Qavam was also instrumental in the 1919 treaty between Iran, Russia, and Great Britain. He was re-elected Prime Minister on January 26, 1946, by a narrow margin in the 52-51 Majlis. The Majlis believed it would have the best chance of resolving the Soviet-inspired rebellion of the occupied province of Azerbaijan as Qavam was the largest landowner in the region. Qavam did not disappoint. He ordered the Iranian delegation to the UN to negotiate directly with the Soviet delegation on outstanding issues before the Security Council. Then he flew to Moscow to personally discuss the problems with Stalin. When the Soviets violated the terms of the Tripartite Pact which required the withdrawal of all foreign military forces from Iranian territory by March 2, 1946, he received a strong reprimand from the parliamentary whip, Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh. Qavam struck a deal with the Soviets, granting an oil concession in the north subject to the approval of the Majlis after the elections. Under the terms of the agreement with Qavam, Soviet troops began to withdraw from Iran. When the new Majlis sat down, he immediately voted against the proposed Soviet oil concession. This earned Qavam the nice title of "The Old Fox". He died at the age of 82 in 1955, in Tehran. He was survived by his second wife and his only son, Hossein.