In 1921 Riza Khan, a colonel in the Iranian Cossack Brigade, rode on Tehran and, in a military coup that was to change Iran's destiny, took power. Appropriating the state-building objectives of Iranian constitutionalism and nationalism, Riza Khan embarked on the task of constructing a strong, modern centralized state at the heart of which lay a new national army. Ruthless and cunning, he used the emergent military and political institutions to crush both civilian and military opposition, and in 1926 crowned himself Shah of Iran. But in the construction of his army Riza Khan relied upon the material bequeathed to him by the reform efforts of the late-19th century and, more particularly, by the constitutional revolution. This text discusses in detail the way in which the modern Iranian army was created, and places the rise of Riza Shah in its historical context. It also outlines the military roots of monarchical dictatorship in Iran.
Part 1 The Government Gendarmerie, 1910-1921: formation and early years; the impact of the First World War; the Muhajirat and the National Government of Kirmanshah; the reconstruction of the Government Gendarmerie. Part 2 The Cossacks, 1906-1921: the constitutional period, 1906-1914; war and revolution, 1914-1917; the Cossack division under Colonel Starroselsky; the Cossack division and the 1921 coup d'etat. Part 3 1921 - The Cossack ascendancy: the destruction of the Gendarmerie; Colonel Muhammad Taqi Khan Pasyan and the Gendarme regime in Mashhad. Part 4 The construction of the new army, 1921-1926: structure and organisation; finance; recruitment; education and training; arms and ammunition - auxiliary services; the air force, navy, Amniyyah and police operations. Part 5 Discontent and disaffection, 1921-1926: the ex-Gendarmes; republicanism and royalism; intrigues within the high command; pay and conditions - the mutinies of 1926. Part 6 Civil-military relations, 1921-1926: the Cabinet and the Majlis; the Shah; the military ascendancy over the civil authorities; the military and the civil population. Conclusion. Appendix A - biographical notes. Appendix B - ranks and rates of pay. Appendix C - the "will" of Ali Quli Khan Pasyan.