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Iran Under Imperial Control?

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    Posted: 24 Jun 2009 at 18:38
I just read this in a AP article and was curious.

In 1907, Britain and Russia shared Iran under the "spheres of influence" doctrine because an independent Iran was seen as a threat to their imperial interests. 

What was the threat of an independent Iran to Britain and Russia?  Just the fact that an independent anything was a threat in the super-mega imperial age of the 1900s?  Just the fact that an independent Iran would have been to weak to survive in that kind of geopolitical environment so one of the local imperial powers had to seize upon it otherwise be left open for encroachment by its rival (geography)?   


I'm just curious for some reason and this board seems to be a nice beacon of knowledge on such subjects.

Thanks for responses.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2009 at 18:59
Iran was ground down by the Brits and Russians in the latter part of the Qajar tenure.  They feared an independent Iran simply because of its strategic position with potential to greatly eat away at their desired centers of influence.  Sadly the Qajars were all to accommodating.

In fact it is at around this date (Constitutional Revolution) that Iran's first birth pangs of democracy were sedated by the Qajar Shah who acted as a Anglo-Russian puppet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hypocrisy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 09:36
All of the countries that have been created across the middle east were described as a grave threat against the imperial powers. Iran is simply one of them. Iran must be trampled down in case she brings in the persian hegemony over the middle east, hence being a superpower that rules the abundant oil sources.

As to the affect of the imperial powers on the demonstrations currently in action, Britain and her brethrens seek an intense insurgency that devastates the current government in the first place and that replaces it with much more viable "democratic one". This is the crucial step to expand the sphere of influence in the middle east. If any kind of revolution successes in Iran, control of the world relatively shifts to the UK. The imperial powers purge the way to deface the significant appearance of the Council of Guardians and Ahmadinejad on the Iranian community.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jun 2009 at 11:42
Neither the Russians nor the British were afraid of Iran. They didn't entirely trust one another, and had to reach a mutually acceptable compromise: part of the same contemporary deal that put Afghanistan in the British sphere and the central Asian territories in the Russian.
 
1907 is significant because it markes the date when Russia and England agreed to work together under the Triple Entente treaty (which also included France, with subsidiary understandings with Japan and Spain). The Triple Entente was formed as a counterweight to the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria and Italy.
 
The deal left the Ottoman Empire somewhat in the lurch, but Iran itself was no kind of power in 1907 and no threat to anyone.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 12:39
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Neither the Russians nor the British were afraid of Iran. They didn't entirely trust one another, and had to reach a mutually acceptable compromise: part of the same contemporary deal that put Afghanistan in the British sphere and the central Asian territories in the Russian.
 


Katherine the Great of Russia saw Iran as its most deadly adversary.
 
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The deal left the Ottoman Empire somewhat in the lurch, but Iran itself was no kind of power in 1907 and no threat to anyone.  


Yes, that is true and is a result of a century's warring and subversion by the Russians and British which neutralised Iran's military and hegemic potency.  The early Qajars were fearsome and not to be messed with, the latter ones were a collective of sedated, decadent and complete disgraces.

Originally posted by Hypocrisy Hypocrisy wrote:

All of the countries that have been created across the middle east were described as a grave threat against the imperial powers. Iran is simply one of them.


Who created Iran? When and how?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 14:10
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Neither the Russians nor the British were afraid of Iran. They didn't entirely trust one another, and had to reach a mutually acceptable compromise: part of the same contemporary deal that put Afghanistan in the British sphere and the central Asian territories in the Russian.

Katherine the Great of Russia saw Iran as its most deadly adversary.
Possibly, but she'd changed her mind by 1907 ( Smile ). By then I don't think she was particularly worried about Sweden either.
 
Even in 1796 she (Zhubov anyway) didn't have much trouble defeating Persia for that matter.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jun 2009 at 14:46
So what you are basically saying is that historical encounters do not inform current strategy which is my argument.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AL_C0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2009 at 00:07
Nay, I think that there can be something found in historical encounters that might well inform current strategy, but probably not always.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2009 at 16:24
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

So what you are basically saying is that historical encounters do not inform current strategy which is my argument.
 
Depends very much how long ago. For instance Britain is now inconsequential in the East.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2009 at 20:53
The British were fully aware of Iran's potential given that immediately prior to their dominion over India, Nader Shah had swept his way across Central Asia and cleaved a huge levy from the Mughal Empire which largely became defunct as a military force thereafter.

Similarly the Russians were all to aware of Nader Shah and the early Qajar's successes against them in CA and the Caucasus.  Neutralising the potential threat Iran posed to their nearby empires was certainly a rationale in the 100+ years culminating to 1907.  Are you aware of the treaties of Golestan, Tukmenchai and the Anglo-Persian war?

Even today Iran's strategic location as well as its natural wealth make it a prime target for domination... or failing that neutralisation as a regional power because of the potential economical and military prowess inherent to it, firstly, as a territory and, secondly, as a domineering regional empire (in the modern sense of the word) - regardless of the ideology of its current government.  This is a simple fact.

And to understand the current national psyche of Iran and devise an effective strategy for dealing with it would demand an examination of its history back at least to the constitutional revolution.  During the era of the first "Great Game" this was no less true where Iran's imperial past was concerned.

NB: Iran's always been Iran (in this form) to its rulers and people since at least the Sassanids, this is a matter of record.


Edited by Zagros - 01 Jul 2009 at 20:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AL_C0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jul 2009 at 23:09
That is all well and good but the Americans must never allow Iranian influence in Iraq.  Or anywhere else for that matter.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jul 2009 at 03:37
You got the point. Give Iraq to Iran and you have handed the Middle east to Iran.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AL_C0 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jul 2009 at 04:06
It does not seem as if Iran will be coming into Iraq any time soon.  Which is probably good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jul 2009 at 05:00
If US get out of Iraq then there is a power vacuum which Iran most likely try to fill, not by military presence, but by its influence and dominating the ruling party in Iraq. In that case Saudi Arabia and Egypt won't stay calm and counter attack Iran influence in Iraq which make Iraq a living hell. Turkey is watching Iran and other Arab countries nowl. They don't want a powerful Iran on their southern border as well, since they have some claims over Kirkuk and other northern Iraqi oil fields. Israel do not want Iranian influence close to her borders, and will do anything to back Arabs to counter Iranian influence. Most likely Israel try to play a balancing game between Iran and other Arab powerful nations such as SA and Egypt. This is sight of power balances in ME and possible scenarios after evacuation of American troops from Iraq.


Edited by Suren - 02 Jul 2009 at 05:05
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jul 2009 at 06:30
There is a simple reason why Iran was so weak in those days that people don't realise.
 
Iran then (c. 1900) had less people than greater London dispersed on a country larger than western europe. Russia then had more soldiers than Iran people too and was many times richer than Iran and because of its huge population (126 million) massive projects like railroads and industrial complexes could easily be financed and labour for them found. Not in Iran.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Jul 2009 at 15:28
That's an interesting conclusion, though using it how would you explain Iran's relative power during the peaks of the Safavid, Afsharid, Zand and Qajar eras with respect to the Ottomans and Russians?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jul 2009 at 08:23
Hello Zagros
 
The Safavids and afsharids weren't strong at all. Their enemies were weak. When Abbas the great was a ruler, what happened in their eastern borders was the last on the Ottoman's mind. They were embroild in constant civil war and wars in the Balkans. Once these problems were sorted out they were crushed with ease by Murad IV despite Shah Safi was as good as his father.
 
Same thing goes with the Afsharids.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jul 2009 at 12:07
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

The British were fully aware of Iran's potential given that immediately prior to their dominion over India, Nader Shah had swept his way across Central Asia and cleaved a huge levy from the Mughal Empire which largely became defunct as a military force thereafter.

Similarly the Russians were all to aware of Nader Shah and the early Qajar's successes against them in CA and the Caucasus.  Neutralising the potential threat Iran posed to their nearby empires was certainly a rationale in the 100+ years culminating to 1907.  Are you aware of the treaties of Golestan, Tukmenchai and the Anglo-Persian war?
Of course Russia and Britain saw Iran as strategically important, which is why neitehr wanted the other to control it. Russia, Austria, and Prussia all saw Poland as strategically important in the 18th century too. And France and Prussia saw Luxembourg as strategically important in the 19th century, but they hardly saw it as a threat.
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Even today Iran's strategic location as well as its natural wealth make it a prime target for domination...
Iran isn't particularly wealthy. It has a lot of oil but it also has a lot of people to feed. In GDP per capita it's 87th in the world, just below Botswana and Bulgaria, and its state expenditures are double its income (CIA factbook - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/IR.html )
 
This was already foreseeable under the Shah in the mid-seventies when I supervised a study of the Iranian future economy carried out by INSEAD for the Iranian government. ( NB: I did that as director of research; I didn't personally do the study.)
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Harburs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jul 2009 at 12:11
Very weak view, please read more about these periods.Wink Safavids had powerful Uzbeks in their northern bothers, bothersome Afghans in east, Portuguese colonials in the south, Russian expansionist on the north and Powerful Ottoman empire in the west and still they manage to overcome almost all of them. How do you call it weak neighbors? About Nadir I don't need to say anything since many historians called him Napoleon of Persia. 

Edited by Suren - 03 Jul 2009 at 12:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jul 2009 at 23:22
I merely stated that they recognised Iran's potential - why else (other than seeking to maintain its pathetic 19th century standing) would the British deny Iran its claims on Herat in the aftermath of the Anglo-Persian war? Besides, with all of your facts, is Iran with its currently meager economic status viewed as a threat today?  What do the Gulf Arabs think? America? UK? Israel?

If you want to make GDP per capita a measure of military threat, let's have a look at who's included in the top:  Luxembourg, Qatar, Lichtenstein, Bermuda, Brunei, Hong Kong... Military and imperial powerhouses, you're quite right.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita)

GDP per capita doesn't determine a country's wealth, only that of its average individuals.  Iran is variously placed 27, 28, 29 by total GDP. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal))  Considering 30 years of virtual isolation, the longest war conventional war of the 20th century and unprecedented bilateral and international sanctions,  I don't think that's all too bad and it is down to Iran's inherent qualities which I mentioned above. 

Additionally, I wouldn't place too much credence on the CIA's world fact book of estimates; for starters, they don't have a clue on Iran's ethnic demographics, amongst other things, and begin Iran's history from 1935. Compare that with their lengthy essay on Indian history. 




Edited by Zagros - 03 Jul 2009 at 23:37
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jul 2009 at 23:23
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Hello Zagros
 
The Safavids and afsharids weren't strong at all. Their enemies were weak. When Abbas the great was a ruler, what happened in their eastern borders was the last on the Ottoman's mind. They were embroild in constant civil war and wars in the Balkans. Once these problems were sorted out they were crushed with ease by Murad IV despite Shah Safi was as good as his father.
 
Same thing goes with the Afsharids.
 
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That is quite odd, because I have read that Nader Shah was the East's last great military ruler and, as Suren mentioned, is referred to as the Persian Napoleon by western historians.
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