Iran crisis of 1946

The Iran crisis of 1946, also known as the Azerbaijan Crisis (Persian: غائله آذربایجانtranslit.: Qaʾilih Âzarbâyjân) in the Iranian sources, was one of the first crises of the Cold War, sparked by the refusal of Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union to relinquish occupied Iranian territory, despite repeated assurances. The end of World War II should have resulted in the end of the Allied joint occupation of Iran. Instead, Pro-Soviet Iranians proclaimed the separatist Azerbaijan People's Government[3] and the Kurdish separatist Republic of Mahabad. The United States pressured Soviet withdrawal in the earliest success of the new containment strategy.

As of August 1941, the United States was a neutral nation and had not yet entered as a belligerent in World War II. Therefore, the bloc known as 'The Allies' were principally (with Poland and France occupied by Germany in 1939 and 1940, respectively) the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union, recently forming their alliance after the German invasion of territories of the Western Soviet Union in June 1941. In August–September 1941, Pahlavi Iran had been jointly invaded and occupied by the Allied powers of the Soviet Red Army in the north and by the British in the centre and south.[4] Iran was used by the Americans and the British as a transportation route to provide vital supplies to the Soviet Union's war efforts.[4]

In the aftermath of the occupation of Iran, those Allied forces agreed to withdraw from Iran within six months after the cessation of hostilities.[4] However, when this deadline came in early 1946, the Soviets, under Joseph Stalin, remained in Iran. Soon, the alliance of the Kurdish and People's Azerbaijani forces, supported in arms and training by the Soviet Union, engaged in fighting with Iranian forces,[1] resulting in a total of 2,000 casualties. Negotiation by Iranian premier Ahmad Qavam and diplomatic pressure on the Soviets by the United States eventually led to Soviet withdrawal and dissolution of the separatist Azeri and Kurdish states.

Iran crisis of 1946
Part of Cold War and Kurdish separatism in Iran
Iran's Azerbaijan liberation

Iran's Azerbaijan after the liberation.
DateNovember, 1945 - December 15, 1946
Location
Result

Decisive Iranian victory

Belligerents
Iran Iran
Supported by:
 United States
 United Kingdom
Azerbaijan People's Government
Republic of Mahabad[1]
Supported by:
 Soviet Union
Commanders and leaders
Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Iran Ali Razmara[1]

Ja'far Pishevari
Ahmad Kordary (POW)
Qazi Muhammad Executed
Mustafa Barzani[1]
Ahmed Barzani


Soviet Union Salahaddin Kazimov[1]
Strength
Iranian Army

Azeri militias
12,750 Peshmerga infantry and cavalry[1]

  • Kurdish tribes[1]
Casualties and losses

Unknown

Hundreds killed (Kurdish report)[1]
Unknown
Total: 2,000 killed[2]
Republic of mahabad and iranian azerbaijan 1945 1946
Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan and Republic of Mahabad in 1945-1946.

Iran Crisis of 1946

Background

After Germany broke its pact with the Soviets and invaded the USSR in June 1941, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union jointly occupied neutral Iran as a preventative measure, starting on August 25, 1941, and justified their invasion by the need to use Iran as a gateway for delivery of Lend-Lease supplies to the Soviet Union from British India.[5] Iran had laid torn between the concurrent zones of influence of both Britain and Russia for a long time, but had managed until then to remain independent, despite several foreign interventions, by taking advantage of the rivalry between the two rival powers. Now that they stood together against Germany, nothing longer opposed a formal joint occupation of the country. As a result, Rezā Shāh was forced to abdicate on September 16, 1941[4] and exiled to Mauritius; his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the crown prince, became the new monarch. Their joint 'Tripartite Treaty' of January 1942 declared that their military presence was not an occupation, proclaimed Iran to be their ally, and pledged to withdraw their troops within six months of the end of the war.[5]

Throughout the rest of the war, the United Kingdom and the United States used Iran as an important supply line to the Soviet war effort against Nazi Germany. Thirty thousand non-combatant US troops arrived to move these supplies, and transit through Iran was later termed a "bridge to victory". At the Teheran Conference in 1943, the Big Three gave additional assurances concerning Iran's future sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as a promise to assist in its post-war reconstruction and development.[5]

Although the occupation of Iran was scheduled to end after the war at the Potsdam Conference following Germany's surrender, Stalin objected to Churchill's proposal for an early allied withdrawal from Iran ahead of the agreed-upon schedule set at the Teheran Conference.[6] Following VJ Day in September 1945, first the US and then the UK withdrew their forces within the treaty-stipulated period. The Soviets not only violated the March 2 withdrawal deadline; in that time they had expanded their military presence southward. By mid-December 1945, with the use of troops and secret police, they had set up two pro-Soviet "People's Democratic Republics" within Iranian territory,[5] the Azerbaijan People's Republic headed by Sayyid Jafar Pishevari and the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad under President Pesheva Qazi Muhammad. It is another example of the Soviet Union's appropriation of Imperial Russia's geopolitical ambitions, as the disputed zone had already been occupied by Imperial Russia 35 years before, in the 1911 Russian invasion of Tabriz.

People's Republic of Azerbaijan

The Azerbaijani Democratic Party (ADP) was formed in September 1945 and headed by Jafar Pishevari, a long-time leader of the revolutionary movement in Gilan. The ADP expanded throughout Iranian Azerbaijan, and initiated a local coup d'état with help from the Soviet army, who prevented the Iranian army from intervening.[7] During the first week of September 1945, the Azerbaijani Democratic Party declared itself to be in control of Iranian Azerbaijan, promised liberal democratic reforms, and disbanded the local branch of Tudeh, the Iranian communist party.[8][9]

Later in September 1945, at its first congress, the Azerbaijani Democratic Party authorized the formation of a peasant's militia, which by mid-November 1945 captured all remaining government posts in the province, and Iranian Azerbaijan "became an autonomous republic under the direction of a 39-member national and no executive committee".[10] The only Prime Minister of this short-lived republic was Ahmad Kordary (variously spelled Kordari or Kodari).

Though the Soviets initially supported the new autonomous entity and prevented the Iranian army from restoring governmental control over the area, it did not last for long. After the Soviet withdrawal, Iranian troops entered the region in December 1946 and Pishevari and his cabinet fled to the Soviet Union.[11][12]

Kurdish Republic of Mahabad

The Mahabad Republic was proclaimed in December 1945.[1] Leading the nascent Kurdish republic and fully endorsed by the Soviets, was Qazi Muhammad, the religious and titular leader of Mahabad.[1] Despite Soviet opposition, Mullah Mustafa Barzani came to play an important role in the newly created military force of the Mahabad Republic - the Peshmerga.[1] With Barzani's support secured, along with some 60 tribal Kurdish leaders, the KDP-I party platform had been established and Qazi Muhammad was elected the first president on 22 January 1946.[1]

The Kurdish forces were advised and organized by Soviet military officer Captain Salahuddin Kazimov.[1] The Soviets extended their influence by sending at least 60 Kurds to Soviet Azerbaijan for additional military training. In total, the Mahabad army consisted of 70 active duty officers, 40 non-commissioned officers, and 1,200 lower-enlisted privates.[1]

On 29 April 1946, only five days after the Mahabad Republic signed a military cooperation accord with neighboring Azerbaijan, the First Kurdish Regiment, located in the southeast corner of the republic in Qahrawa, faced 600 Iranian soldiers reinforced with artillery and cavalry.[1] In this engagement, the peshmerga under Barzani were successful against Iranian forces, ambushing the first Iranian units to reach Qahrawa, killing 21, wounding 17 and capturing 40, making it the first victory for the Mahabad Republic.[1]

The Mahabad peshmerga also engaged Iranian reconnaissance teams in the region throughout early May 1946.[1] Kurdish offensives were limited to minor skirmishes due to the removal of Soviet influence in the region that month, possibly due to a Soviet-Iranian oil agreement.[1] A ceasefire agreement, signed on 3 May 1946 between Kurdish forces and Iranian General Ali Razmara, discouraged major attacks, promoted withdrawals, and allowed each side to further equip their forces in the region.[1]

On 15 June 1946, this period of preparation ended, as the fighting positions of the Second Kurdish Regiment at Mamashah (Mil Qarani) were attacked by two Iranian battalions supported by artillery, tanks, and aircraft.[1] The resulting Kurdish defeat enabled the Iranian military to seize the highlands, erect military watchtowers, and maintain a military presence in the area.[1] Lack of tribal unity promoted deterioration of the Mahabad Republic following the Battle of Mamashah.

Azerbeidsjan capituleert, Bestanddeelnr 901-9710 crop
Military parade in Tehran
in celebration of Azerbaijan capitulation, 15th December 1946

As tribal support for Qazi Muhammad's government waned, the Barzani Peshmerga were left as Mahabad's lone fighting force.[1] As a result, the Mahabad position became hopeless by late 1946, as even promised Soviet aid failed to arrive.[1] The Mahabad Republic faced its most difficult challenge as Iranian forces planned to reclaim Mahabad, following the seizure of Iranian Azerbaijan in December 1946.[1] Though some opposition remained, eventually the sides turned to negotiations. The Barzanis, including the Peshmerga and their families, withdrew to Naqada on 15 December 1946 and the Iranian military entered Mahabad, officially ending the one-year life of the Kurdish Republic.[1]

Despite the attempts to disarm Mahabad forces, the Peshmerga succeeded in smuggling out much of their weaponry. In March 1947, they faced their Iranian foes once again. In various battles throughout mid-March, the Peshmerga defended themselves against numerous offensives as Iranian forces continued their attacks, often recruiting rival Kurdish tribes to oust the Barzanis.[1] The Peshmerga even achieved several victories, among which was the Battle of Nalos, where Peshmerga forces effectively used their artillery to kill many Iranian soldiers, including Colonel Kalashi, the Iranian regiment commander, and took many prisoners of war. The ambush of an Iranian military column also resulted in the deaths of fifty Iranian soldiers and the capture of Iranian Lieutenant Jahanbani, son of General Jahanbani.[1] However, with his forces withering under the continuous attack, Mustafa Barzani realized the need to flee Iran and cross the border into Iraqi Kurdistan.[1]

The Peshmerga and Barzani leadership crossed into Iraq in two waves, and though successful in overcoming the Iraqi police and jash forces, whom they met on their way to Barzan, Sheikh Ahmed Barzani was arrested by the Iraqi government and Mustafa Barzani was requested to surrender.[1] When the Iraqis began to mobilize troops to seek Mustafa's defeat and surrender, he decided on evacuation towards the Soviet Union. The journey began on May 1947, with the forces of Barzani engaging in skirmishes with the Iranian military on their way.[1]

On 9 June 1947, the Peshmerga attacked the flank of an army column.[1] During the two-pronged attack, led by both Mustafa Barzani and As'ad Khoshavi, the Peshmerga killed hundreds of Iranian soldiers, destroyed several tanks, knocked out an artillery battery and downed an Iranian aircraft.[1] After evading or engaging the Iranian army throughout their trip, the Barzanis, along with over 500 Peshmerga and their families, crossed the Araxes River into the Soviet Union on 18 June 1947.[1]

Diplomatic pressure and support

The United States exerted intense pressure on the Soviet Union in stages to force the withdrawal of the Red Army from Iran and reduce Soviet influence. Following an official US protest, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2, on January 30, 1946; the Soviets replied on March 24, 1946 and pledged immediate withdrawal, but in fact remained for a few more weeks.

In a second stage through the spring, the US supported the Iranian complaint against Soviet actions lodged with the Security Council in Resolution 3 and Resolution 5.

In a third stage in mid December 1946, the US supported the shah's government in sending the Iranian army to re-occupy Mahabad and Azerbaijan.[5] The leaders of the Azerbaijan enclave in Iran fled to the Azerbaijan SSR, and the leaders of the Kurdish Republic were tried and sentenced to death. They were hanged in Chwarchira Square in the center of Mahabad in 1947.

A fourth stage was initiated in 1947 and centered on the issue of Soviet designs on Iran's northern oil resources. Following the election that year of a new Majlis, the newly elected deputies were reluctant to ratify the Soviet-Iranian oil agreement, which had been concluded under duress in March 1946 and had granted the Soviets 51% ownership and de facto control. On September 11, 1947, US ambassador George V. Allen publicly decried intimidation and coercion used by foreign governments to secure commercial concessions in Iran, and promised full US support for Iran to freely decide about its own natural resources. With this unequivocal encouragement, the Majlis refused to ratify the Soviet oil agreement on October 22, 1947; the vote was 102 to 2.[5]

Cold War

This conflict was one of the first episodes of the Cold War outside Europe, and was a factor in the evolving and increasingly contentious political relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union, which followed their joint victory in World War II. According to Lenczowski, U.S. President Truman's actions laid the foundations of US relations with Iran, and were based on his understanding of the nature of the Soviet system and its expansionist proclivities, as well as on his conviction that Soviet threats and aggression should be contained, with force if necessary.[5]

Soviet influence and expansion occurred elsewhere in Southwest Asia also and led to the Truman Doctrine of the Cold War. Taking Truman's cue, successive US presidents enlarged and refined their policies toward Iran by extending economic and technical assistance, strengthening its military potential, establishing closer cultural ties, and integrating Iran into the regional security system encompassing the other countries of the 'Northern Tier' of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf.[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag Michael G. Lortz. (Chapter 1, Introduction). The Kurdish Warrior Tradition and the Importance of the Peshmerga. pp.27-29. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 21, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ All the Shah's Men, Kinzer, p.65-66
  4. ^ a b c d Sebestyen, Victor (2014). 1946: The Making of the Modern World. Pan Macmillan. ISBN 0230758002.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h George Lenczowski, American Presidents and the Middle East, (1990), p. 7-13
  6. ^ Harry S. Truman, Memoirs, Vol. 1: Years of Decision (1955), p.380, cited in Lenczowski, American Presidents, p.10
  7. ^ Ervand Abrahamian. "Communism and Communalism in Iran: The Tudah and the Firqah-I Dimukrat", International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 1, No. 4. (October 1970), p. 291
  8. ^ Sepehr Zabih. The Communist Movement in Iran, Berkeley, 1966, p. 99
  9. ^ Ervand Abrahamian. Iran between Two Revolutions, Princeton, 1982, pp. 217-218
  10. ^ Fred H. Lawson. "The Iranian Crisis of 1945-1946 and the Spiral Model of International Conflict", International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 21, No. 3. (August 1989), p. 316
  11. ^ Azerbaijan Crisis (1947-1948)
  12. ^ Iran in World War II Archived October 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine

Further reading

  • André Fontaine, La guerre froide 1917–1991, Edestermann: "Kurdish Independence and Russian Expansion", Foreign Affairs, Vol. 24, 1945–1946, pp. 675–686
  • George Lenczowski, Russia and the West in Iran (1949)

External links

1921 Persian coup d'état

1921 Persian coup d'état, known in Iran as 3 Esfand coup d'état (Persian: کودتای ۳ اسفند ۱۲۹۹‎), refers to several major events in Persia in 1921, which eventually led to the establishment of the Pahlavi dynasty as the ruling house of the country in 1925.

The events began with a coup by the Persian Cossack Brigade headed by Reza Khan, and directed by the British, on 21 February 1921. With this coup Zia'eddin Tabatabaee took over power and became Prime Minister. The coup was largely bloodless and faced little resistance. With his expanded forces and the Cossack Brigade, Reza Khan launched successful military actions to eliminate separatist and dissident movements in Tabriz, Mashhad and the Janglis in Gilan. The campaign against Simko and the Kurds was less successful and lasted well into 1922, though eventually concluding with Persian success.

1935 Yazidi revolt

The 1935 Yazidi revolt took place in Iraq in October 1935. The Iraqi government, under Yasin al-Hashimi, crushed a revolt by the Yazidi people of Jabal Sinjar against the imposition of conscription. The Iraqi army, led by Bakr Sidqi, reportedly killed over 200 Yazidi and imposed martial law throughout the region. Parallel revolts opposing conscription also broke out that year in the northern (Kurdish populated) and mid-Euphrates (majorly Shia populated) regions of Iraq.

The Yazidis of Jabal Sinjar constituted the majority of Iraqi Yazidi population - the third largest non-Muslim minority within the kingdom, and the largest ethno-religious group in the province of Mosul. In 1939, the region of Jabal Sinjar was once again put under military control, together with the Shekhan District.

1959 Mosul uprising

The 1959 Mosul Uprising was an attempted coup by Arab nationalists in Mosul who wished to depose the then Iraqi Prime Minister Abd al-Karim Qasim, and install an Arab nationalist government which would then join the Republic of Iraq with the United Arab Republic. Following the failure of the coup, law and order broke down in Mosul, which witnessed several days of violent street battles between various groups attempting to use the chaos to settle political and personal scores.

Ar-Rashid revolt

The ar-Rashid revolt refers to a 1963 failed uprising against the Baathist government in Iraq. The revolt was plotted by followers of the Iraqi Communist Party in junction with military officers. The revolt failed to spread outside Baghdad and was crushed by the Baathist forces.

Armenian Revolutionary Federation in Iran

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) (Armenian: Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցութիւն Hay Heghapokhagan Tashnagtsutiun; Persian: فدراسیون انقلابی ارمنی‎, in short form "Dashnak"), has a long history in Iran, dating back to the earliest days of the party, in the 1890s. The ARF played a significant role as one of the pioneers in the development of early modern Iranian politics, and had a great contribution to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution. Though the principal objectives of the ARF were to create an independent Armenian state comprising territory of the former Soviet Union and the Turkey, it has never asserted claims to the portion of historical Armenian land that remain under Iranian rule. It is the only Armenian party to exist in Iran.

Corrective Movement (Syria)

The Corrective Movement (Arabic: الحركة التصحيحية‎ al-Ḥaraka at-Taṣ'ḥīḥiya), also referred to as the Corrective Revolution or Glorious Corrective Movement, was a political movement in Syria, initiated by a coup d'état, led by General Hafez al-Assad on 13 November 1970. Al-Assad's program of reform, considered revolutionary in Syria, aimed to sustain and improve the "nationalist socialist line" of the state and the Ba'ath party. Al-Assad would rule Syria until his death in 2000, after which he was succeeded by his son Bashar al-Assad.

Domino theory

The domino theory was a theory prominent from the 1950s to the 1980s that posited that if one country in a region came under the influence of communism, then the surrounding countries would follow in a domino effect. The domino theory was used by successive United States administrations during the Cold War to justify the need for American intervention around the world.

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower described the theory during an April 7, 1954, news conference, when referring to communism in Indochina:

Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the "falling domino" principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences.

Iran crisis

Iran crisis may refer to

Iran crisis of 1946

Iran hostage crisis

2009 Iranian election protests

2017–18 Iranian protests

Kurdish separatism in Iran

Kurdish separatism in Iran or the Kurdish–Iranian conflict is an ongoing, long running, separatist dispute between the Kurdish opposition in Western Iran and the governments of Iran, lasting since the emergence of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1918.The earliest Kurdish separatist activities in modern times refer to tribal revolts in today's West Azerbaijan Province of Imperial State of Iran, prompted in between of the two World Wars – the major of those were led by Simko Shikak, Jafar Sultan and Hama Rashid. Many however, put the starting point of the organized Kurdish political-nationalist separatism to 1943, when Komala shortly afterwards KDPI began their political activities in Iran, aiming to gain partial or complete self-rule in Kurdish regions. Transformation from tribal to Kurdish political struggle in Iran took place in the aftermath of World War II, with the bold separatist attempt of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) to establish the Republic of Mahabad during the 1946 Iran crisis. The Soviet supported attempt to establish a Kurdish state in Western Iran failed. More than a decade later, peripheral tribal uprisings, launched with KDPI support through 1966–7, Kurdish regions suffered a major blow. In the most violent episode of the conflict, more than 30,000 Kurds died starting with the 1979 rebellion and the consequent KDPI insurgency. Though KDPI's armed struggle ended in late 1996, another Kurdish armed organization emerged in Iran by the early 2000s. Insurrection led by PJAK in Western Iran started in 2004 and is ongoing to this day.The government of Iran has never employed the same level of brutality against its Kurds as did Turkey or Iraq, but it has always been implacably opposed to any suggestion of Kurdish separatism. Unlike in other Middle Eastern countries with Kurdish populations, Kurdish separatism in Iran has little to no support due to the very strong ethno-linguistical ties and the common history and culture they share with other Iranian peoples. Kreyenbroek claims many Kurds in Iran have shown no interest in Kurdish nationalism, especially Shia Kurds, who even vigorously reject the idea of autonomy, preferring direct rule from Tehran. The Kurds sharing a common history with the rest of the Iranian peoples is seen as another reason for why even Kurdish leaders in Iran do not want a separate Kurdish state.

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List of conflicts related to the Cold War

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List of modern conflicts in the Middle East

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The term "modern" refers to the post-WWI period, in other words, since 1918.

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Revolts during the Turkish War of Independence

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Kemal Atatürk, who was the leader of the nationalist government of Turkey during the war of independence was primarily concerned about subduing the internal revolts and establishing domestic security. To achieve this, the parliament passed the Law of Treachery to the Homeland and established Mobile Gendarmerie Troops. These revolts had the effect of delaying the nationalist movement's struggle against the occupying foreign forces on several fronts. These revolts, such as those by Ahmed Anzavur, were put down with some difficulty by nationalist forces.

Russians in Iran

Iranian Russians are Russians living in Iran or Iranians of Russian descent. Russians populate various regions, but mostly in those regions which had been under direct Russian military occupation in the past, thus in Russia's sphere of influence. This was an indirect result of the outcome of the last Russo-Persian Wars. Nowadays there are Russians located in the southern regions of the country as well (such as Bushehr), where many of them work as technicians and nuclear experts, on for example the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.

Although the community has shrunk significantly since the Second World War, the following Iran crisis of 1946 and the Iranian Revolution, Russians are known to be living in Iran since the time of the Safavids.

Ulbricht Doctrine

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East Germany gained acceptance of its view from fellow Communist states, such as Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria, which all agreed not to normalise relations with West Germany until it recognised East German sovereignty.

West Germany eventually abandoned its Hallstein Doctrine, instead adopting the policies of Ostpolitik. In December 1972, a Basic Treaty between East and West Germany was signed that reaffirmed two German states as separate entities. The treaty also allowed the exchange of diplomatic missions and the entry of both German states to the United Nations as full members.

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