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1908 bombardment of the Majlis

A number of constitutionalists arrested in the Shah Garden.

The 1908 bombardment of the Majlis of Iran took place on 23 June 1908 in Tehran, during the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, when the Persian Cossack forces, commanded by Vladimir Liakhov and other Russian officers, bombarded and suppressed the Iranian parliament, the Majlis.[1]


Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar, the Shah of Persia, who ascended the throne in January 1907 opposed the constitution of 1906, which was ratified during regime of his father Mozzafar-al-Din Shah.[2] After his ascension, in August of 1907 an Anglo-Russian agreement divided Iran into a Russian zone in the North, a British zone in the South, and a neutral zone in the center. The British switched their support to the Shah, abandoning the Constitutionalists.[3] The Shah later tried to subdue and eliminate the Majles with the military and political support of Russia and Britain.[4]

Parliament of Tehran - image of 1906

During the constitutional revolution, the Shah confined himself to his residence at the Bagh-e Shah fort in the west of Tehran. He enlisted the help of the Cossack Brigade to control the revolution, leaving the city of Tehran at their mercy.[5][4] The loyalty of the Cossack Brigade was fully guaranteed, not only by the previous purge carried out by commander Vladimir Liakhov, but also by the king's distribution of a special bonus in 1908.[6]

Russian colonel Vladimir Liakhov, the commander of the Cossack Brigade, led the force in shelling the Majles and executing several leaders of the Constitutional Movement on June 23, 1908. His forces then plundered the parliament and damaged the building.[5] This event lead to the beginning of a period known as the "Minor Tyranny." Liakhov was subsequently made Military Governor of Tehran by the Shah, transforming the city into a military garrison.[5]

However, in July 1909, pro-Constitution forces marched from Iran's province of Azerbaijan to Tehran. They were able to capture Tehran, depose the Shah and re-establish the constitution. Colonel Liakhov and his forces served the Shah until July 1909, when the Shah abdicated and fled to Russia, resulting in the surrender of Liakhov and the Persian Cossack Brigade. Liakhov was pardoned by the Constitutional leaders probably for the fear of a Russian attack and was sent back to Saint Petersburg, where he would be dismissed soon after to serve in the Caucasus campaign of the First World War.[5]


See also


  1. ^ Cronin, Stephanie (1997). The Army and Creation of the Pahlavi State in Iran, 1921-1926. I.B.Tauris. p. 61. ISBN 978-1860641053. On 23 June the brigade, commanded by Liakhov and the other Russian officers, bombarded and suppressed the Majlis
  2. ^ Donzel, Emeri “van” (1994). Islamic Desk Reference. ISBN 90-04-09738-4. p. 285-286
  3. ^ Mackey, Sandra The Iranians : Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation, New York : Dutton, c1996. p.150-55
  4. ^ a b BBC Persian
  5. ^ a b c d "Cossack Commander In Charge of Tehran - Russians Bombard Iranian Parliament". Archived from the original on 2016-08-26. Retrieved 2010-10-29.
  6. ^ Cronin, Stephanie (1997). The Army and Creation of the Pahlavi State in Iran, 1921-1926. I.B.Tauris. p. 61. ISBN 978-1860641053.
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