The Iranian History 1936 AD


Reza Shah Bans Hijab

Jan, 8, 1936 AD

Reza Shah and his son Mohammadreza visit school children after fifting veilOn Jan, 8, 1936, Reza Shah announced a law regulating attire of Iranians which later became famous as ban on Hijab.
It's commonly believed that one of major mistakes of Reza Shah was to use force to lift the veil of Iranian women. Following a path he'd observed and liked in Turkey, he wanted to modernize the look of the Iranian people. First a law obligating men to wear suits and a chapeau passed the parliament in Dec, 27, 1928. Females from the royal and elite family began to appear in modern dresses in public. Iranian women were used to wearing a scarf or veil for centuries and this sudden change created outrage in families. Then in 1935, female students of Tehran University were asked to go to their classes without covering their hair. Under the dictator's regime, every voice of dissent was brutally silenced and soldiers raided a public gathering in the Goharshad mosque in Mashhad killing around 2500-5000 people and arresting 1500 participants.
Finally, on Jan, 8, 1936, during a graduation ceremony, Reza Shah announced the law according which wearing Hijab or Islamic veil became against the law, thus; the veil was officially outlawed. From that day, the police was ordered to use force to take the Chador off the head of women on the street. This act was indeed against basic human rights which backfired and people became strangers to their regime. Moreover, an aggressively masculine society was not going to change its attitudes towards women overnight. This in fact should not undermine the fact that during Reza Shah, improved status of women was a significant development in the history of Iran compared to other neighboring nations.
The same paradox appeared after the regime changed in 1979. Despite all promises given to leave people to decide on what they should wear, moral police patrol streets of Iran enforcing some sort of Islamic dress code which has drawn an ire, creating a wrong image of Islam in modern times. (Updated: Jan, 8, 2012)

Relations With The U.S.A. Suspended

Feb, 16, 1936 AD

Book Cover: Iran and the rise of Reza Shah by Cyrus Ghani: From Qajar collapse to Pahlavi powerReza Shah ordered suspension of diplomatic relations with the U.S.A. after a senior Iranian diplomat was arrested by the American police. Mr. Ala, head of Iranian diplomatic mission to U.S. reported that while driving in Washington he was stopped by a police officer for violation of the speed limit. He refused to accept the ticket issued by the officer stating that he had diplomatic immunity. Nevertheless, he was taken into custody and kept for hours at a police station. Reza Shah considered this as an insult and called for return of all Iranian diplomats and embassy staff from Washington while ordering the Americans to leave Iran. After this event, the two countries did not have diplomatic relations for quite a while until gifts and mediations broke the ice and relations were normalized. Then again, After the U.S.A. embassy was seized in November 1979 and American diplomats were taken hostage, the two countries broke diplomatic ties and limited relations to secret meetings on secret issues. (Updated: Feb, 16, 2008)

Thrusting U. S. Into Diplomatic Limbo

Mar, 31, 1936 AD

The royal court of Ahmad Shah, the last Qajar king (third from right) and Reza Khan (third from left) who was later to establish Pahlavi dynastyReza Shah Pahlavi, now calling himself the King of Kings ordered the Iranian legation in Washington and the Iranian consulates in Manhattan and Chicago permanently closed, thus thrusting the U. S. into a diplomatic limbo. The political outrage started after his majesty's Minister Plenipotentiary to the U. S. Ghaffar Khan Jalal Ala was handcuffed and arrested by a local police officer. His car was stopped for speeding in Elkton, Maryland. Despite the fact that he produced his diplomatic credentials, Ghaffar Khan was manacled and taken to the court. The judge immediately ordered his release. Not satisfied by an apology from Maryland's Governor, and the dismissal of the officer, Reza Shah recalled Ghaffar Khan and ordered cutting diplomatic ties with the U.S. This action was partly attributed to what was considered the disrespectful and humiliating treatment of himself and his country in the U. S. press.
Meanwhile Britain was curiously keeping an eye on a trade worth of $85,000,000 between Iran and the U.S. The British media kept running studio portrait of Reza Shah, declaring him of a very noble Persian family of the purest element of the Iranian race. The fact still remains intact; Reza Khan was only a Cossack officer in charge of the moles before being chosen by the British general Ironside in 1921. He was simply dismissed and died in exile in 1944. (Updated: May, 4, 2008)

Veresk Bridge Inaugurated

Apr, 12, 1936 AD

The Veresk Bridge under Construction: During WWII, it was known as the Pol-e Piroozi (The Veresk Bridge is a marvel of engineering in Iran. Constructions began in Nov, 1934, and the bridge was constructed mostly by Germans before World War II. The engineering team included an Austrian engineer named Walter Inger and a German named Ladislaus Von Rabsevic. The Veresk Bridge was inaugurated on Apr, 12, 1936. Reza Shah personally attended the ceremony which took place in his hometown. It's been narrated that the king asked foreign engineers and their families to stand under the bridge while the first train was passing because people had a fear that the narrow bridge would collapse under the heavy load of a train!
The Veresk Bridge took its name from a technician from Czechoslovakia whose name was hard to pronounce for Iranians, the bridge is located in Veresk District of Savadkooh County, in Mazandaran Province, 85 kilometers south of Ghaemshahr.
During World War II, it was known as the Pol-e Piroozi (The Bridge of victory). The bridge stands at 110 m tall and its arch measures 66 m long. The bridge serves the Trans-Iranian Railway network in Northern Iran. An interesting side of the Veresk Bridge is that no metal structures were used in it and construction took place with very primitive tools such as hand drills and dynamites, and the main material was bricks, sand and cement.
The Veresk Bridge connects the railway between Tehran and the Caspian Sea region and connects two of the mountains in the Abbasabad region. The bridge is one of the masterpieces of engineering.
Underneath the bridge is a memorial structure built in memory of all the construction workers who lost their life in the course of building the Veresk Bridge and its nearby tunnels. The Chief Engineer, Austrian Walter Inger, who wanted to be buried at Veresk area after his death, is also buried in this location. Under the bridge, there is an underground tunnel where trains pass after crossing the bridge so that altitude drops gradually before pulling into the train station.
Total cost of this project was 2,600,000 Rials. Today, after 75 years, on average four trains connecting Tehran to Gorgan or Sari pass over this bridge every day. (Updated: Nov, 25, 2012)

Sheikh Khazal Dies In Custody

Aug, 5, 1936 AD

Boats by the Sheikh Khazal PalaceWhen Majlis rejected to ratify an agreement which gave exclusive oil rights to the British, Percy Loraine became ambassador to Persia. He had served in Tehran from 1907 to 1909 and knew both Turkish and Persian. The British made a treaty with Sheikh Khazal, the governor of Khuzestan and assured him financial and military support against the central government. Sheikh Khazal formed an alliance with the Bakhtiari, Lor, and Khamseh tribes and dominated the eastern and northern regions of Khuzestan before staging an uprising in 1921, thus creating the greatest challenge to the newly formed government of Tehran. The British planned to create as many puppet Sheikhdoms in the Persian Gulf as possible.
Reza Khan did not give in. He sent his military commanders to the region in January, 1925 and asserted the state authority with a royal order. In April, General Fazlollah Zahedi was appointed to start negotiations with Sheikh Khazal. The Iranian delegate was spending the night in a yacht anchored on Arvand river near Khorramshahr, when Later that night, a gunboat approached and Iranian special forces silently boarded the yacht. They immediately took the guards under control and arrested Sheikh Khazal. After taking him to the military base in Ahvaz, he was sent by car to Tehran.
Reza Shah proclaimed king in April, 1926. He quickly liquefied Sheikh Khazal's properties and abolished the Sheikhdom of Arabestan which was to be thereafter called Khuzestan. Sheikh Khazal was given a luxurious residence in Tehran but he was ordered not to leave the city. Although the British started speculating about his death in 1936 at the age of 73, they knew their petro-political plans had failed and dreams of a Sheikhdom were shattered. (Updated: Jun, 28, 2009)

White Bridge of Ahvaz Completed

Sep, 21, 1936 AD

The historical White Bridge of Ahvaz was inaugurated in 1936. The lead engineer was a German who passed away during the construction but his wife continued his work despite all problems and completed the project as expected.The Ahvaz Bridge later called the White Bridge was officially inaugurated on Sep, 21, 1936. Iran was at the age of infrastructural progress under the rule of Reza Shah of Pahlavi Dynasty. Primary studies regarding the most suitable location for the bridge were completed on May, 31 1933 in order to connect the Bandar-e Shapour through the new Ahvaz Bridge to the Trans-Iranian Railway system which was also under construction. On June, 7, 1934, the Ministry of Roads and Streets commissioned a Swedish company with the project at a total sum of 5,708,000 Rials to be paid in 12 checks by Melli Bank of Iran.
On Oct, 21, 1935 foundation works started and by Feb, 20th 5 of 7 concrete foundations had been installed in a dazzling paste considering the available technology at the time. On Aug, 10, 1935, the first steel frame of the structure was installed. About a year later, on Aug, 3, 1936 the concrete work was completed and 3 days later, the asphalt work started. A week later final touches including cabling for electricity started.
Finally after necessary tests had been performed, the Ahvaz Bridge was completed and delivered to local authorities on Sep, 21, 1936. The bridge was officially inaugurated on Nov, 6, 1936.
The useful life of the bridge was primarily estimated at 50 years, therefore 75 years later, a renovation project started as the bridge had become of historical value.
The White Bridge of Ahvaz was registered as National Heritage of Iran. Ahvaz currently has eight bridges on the Karun River. (Updated: Mar, 14, 2013)

Foundation of The Ministry of Energy

Oct, 17, 1936 AD

Olive trees oversee the Island in the middle of the Manjil Dam in Gilan province of Iran, 2010. The Manjil Dam is built on the intersection of the Qezel Owzan (Sefidrood) and Shahrood rivers near the city of ManjilMinistry of Energy of Iran was originally founded after a draft bill approved on October 17, 1936 in order to supply electricity in Tehran. On May, 20, 1943, the law authorizing the organization to be in charge of water management was passed. But it was not until the White Revolution when the entity was re-established under the title of "Ministry of water and electricity" on March, 17, 1964.
On February 17, 1975, after the parliamentary approval it became "Ministry of Energy" aka Vezarat-e Niroo with the goal of supplying electricity and water for citizens.
Ministry of Energy of Iran is the main organ of the Government in charge of the regulation and implementation of policies applicable to energy, electricity, water and wastewater services.
Ministry of Energy is responsible for management of supply and demand of water, electricity, energy, and wastewater services and also promoting the training, research and technology, and bedding for goods and services market in water and electrical industry. It also plays a major role in preservation of natural resources, environment protection, public health promotion, welfare and self-sufficiency for sustainable development of the country.
On May, 10, 1978, the ministry was put in charge of construction and operation of Nuclear Power Plants.
On July, 12, 1980, some of the authorities of the Ministry of Energy were transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture.
On March, 7, 1983, water management, and fair distribution of water resources became an inseparable part of the Ministry of Energy.
List of Energy ministers of Iran, after the Iranian 1979 revolution:
Abbas Taj
Hasan Abbaspour
Mahmoud Moghaddam
Mansour Shahidi
Hasan Ghafurifard
Mohammad Taghi Banki
Seyed Abolhasan Khamushi
Bijan Namdar Zanganeh
Habibollah Bitaraf
Parviz Fattah
Majid Namjoo (Updated: Aug, 4, 2012)

English-Persian Glossary

Latest Additions to Iranian History Chronicle: