By: Mir M.Hosseini
After Charles Murray was appointed British ambassador to Iran in 1854, a very strange incident took place. The British ambassador appointed Hashem Khan, an officer in the Persian army and one of Shah's bodyguards as a secretary in the mission in Tehran. This was against the wishes of the Shah and his prime minister. The reason was gossips circulating around Hashem Khan's wife who was a sister of Naseroddin Shah's wife. Some rumors appeared that Murray and his predecessor as ambassador had improper relations with the Hashem Khan's wife.
The news of the scandal spread quickly and her brother took Hashem Khan's wife into custody on 14 November 1855, to defend his honor. Charles Murray who was known for having an attitude took it as an insult to British legation and demanded her release. However, tensions escalated until Murray announced breaking off relations on Nov, 20, 1855.
This incident gave Britain a pretext for mobilization of British forces. One year later, a war broke out between the two countries over Herat after which Iran was forced to surrender her claims to the city. After the war, Murray remained ambassador until 1859. He was succeeded by Henry Rawlinson.