By: Mir M.Hosseini
Naseroddin Shah signed the Regie Concession during his third visit to Europe on March, 8, 1890. By this agreement Shah sold the monopoly of the tobacco trade in Iran. In return, Iran would receive 500,000 Sterlings per year plus %10 of the profit. This agreement was made without necessary consultations and resulted in popular discontent that led to an uprising called Tobacco Movement.
A fatwa by religious leaders banned smoking completely as Haram, which was followed by demonstrations in Shiraz, Tabriz and Isfahan. The Shah soon retreated and accepted to cancel the concession on Dec, 18, 1891. This was the first time that public opinion showed its force against Shah and made a sample for the Constitutional Monarchy Movement. When the British were informed of the annulment on Jan, 5, 1892, Iran agreed to pay 500,000 Sterlings in compensation on April, 22, 1892.
Despite the fact that Naseroddin Shah practically sold the country during his 50 years of his infamous reign, his face is still seen on various paintings on China teapots, hookah and such items in the Iranian market especially after the 1979 Revolution.
Another question is why those clerics were silent when Naseroddin Shah gave away Iranian soil; for instance Marv on Feb, 28, 1881.