Member of League of Nations Secretariat
(Administrative Commissions and Minorities / Minorities Questions Sections*)
Chief Secretary For Non Aligned Nations, United Nations
Director and Co-founder of Iranian Bank Of Development & Reconstruction [Omran]
Member Of 16th and 18th Iranian National Parliament Meshkin Shahr, Azarbeijan
Fatmeh-Soltan (Moazzam ol Molouk) and her uncle Abolhassan Hakimi
Abolhassan Hakimi was the youngest son of Mirza Abolhassan Hakim Bashi and Lady Kokab Qajar Davaloo. He was named after his father as he was born shortly after his father passed away (around 1888). Massoud Gharajedaghi provided the basic biography a few years ago which was a very good starting point for later research and the new additions.
young AH in Tabriz with family just before going to Beirut
AH grew up in Tabriz and was sent to Beirut for further education. Life as a young man away from home in early 20th century cannot have been easy as we read in his letter to his brother Ebrahim Hakimi (Hekim el Molk) in 1909. As the first World War got under way AH was unable to return to Iran and had to stay in Beirut. He met his future wife Marta Szostakowski (b. 1886) at university in Beirut. She had become a widow during the war and had three children by her first husband.
Together with his bride and family they moved to Switzerland where he joined the League Of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations. After the armistice in Europe, AH was appointed as the Persian delegate to the League but the British would not allow Iran to be represented at the Versailles Conference and he found himself without a role and pay. Soon after he left the Persian Mission and joined the permanent staff of the League (it was not until mid 1930's Persia was renamed as Iran). Around this time his son, Dara Hakimi was born. He stayed in Lausanne working for the League in Switzerland until the end of the Second World War. His wife became a celebrated painter in Switzerland.
Abolhassan was a contemporary of the famous and much respected Iranian writer Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh who was similarly educated in Beirut and found a position with the International Labour Organisation. Around 1916 he ended up in Berlin collaborating with Jamalzadeh and Hassan Taghizadeh the famous Iranian (fierce) revolutionary, modernist, scholar and politician who had established Kaveh, a Journal of Iranian studies in Berlin to enlighten or in their own language, "awaken" the Iranians. According to Jamalzadeh, Abolhassan contributed under the pseudonym of "Manouchehr Farssad" but for unknown reasons fell out with Taghizadeh and returned to Lausanne, the headquarters of the League of Nations. The family is very much indebted to Connie Bobroff who provided us with a copy of one of his articles from the 1916-1921 collection of Kaveh through a chance e-mail exchange about Jamalzadeh. Copy of the two relevant pages from Hassan Taghizadeh's memoires A Life of Turmoil (Zendegie e Toufani) are also provided via the links below (all in Persian):
Abolhassan's articles in Kaveh
18th April 1916:
Kaveh Article 16th May 1916:
Page 6, Tagizadeh's Memoire
Page 488 regarding identity of
Of Jamalzadeh and Hakimi
One puzzling question was how Jamalzadeh and Hakimi ended up as colleagues in Geneva. In a recent article in an Iranian site called Mad o Meh, giving a brief outline of Jamalzadeh's early years, it is mentioned that in 1918 Jamalzadeh had to leave Berlin (Jamalzadeh only mentions he became very unhappy there, the cause mentioned in Mad o Meh was a breakdown of relationship with the Iranian students in Germany for whom he was acting as counsellor guardian) and through AH he found him a position with the Internaitonal Labour Organization.
Having touched above on his involvement in the Modernists Movement in Berlin, he was clearly one of the many young Iranians who desperately desired the awakening of their nation. In 2012 thanks to a recent site archiving Iranian journals, I found an article in Iraj Afshar's Iranian studies journal Ayandeh quoting sections of his letters from Lusanne in 1922 to Dr Mahmoud Afshar his father. In the article it is mentioned that he helped form the Union of Iranians in Lusanne, whose other founders were Mahmoud Afshar (later a noted scholar of Iranian Studies), Paul Ketabchian, Hossein Amin, and Ali Akbar Davar who later carried out the most aggressive and fast paced program of reform under Reza Shah.
His two step sons, David and Simon Farzami came to Iran when the Second World War started to visit their step-uncle Ebrahim Hakimi who later became prime minister. On his recommendation they were employed by Bagher Kazemi (later became foreign minister of Iran) in Pars News Agency of Iran and settled in Teheran. At the time Pars was a magnet for some of the top educated Iranian writers (see Half a Century of Journalism, Moshfegh Hamedani's memoires). David later joined the National Bank of Iran and died of a unknown disease. Simon later joined Associated Press and Agence France Press later becoming its head of AFP in Iran. He was also editor of the French-language Le Journal de Tehran and worked as a translator as well as a journalist. After the Iranian Revolution Simon was arrested for having "deliberately mistranslated" some government documents but later was accused of having worked for the CIA (see Guest of the Ayotallah by Mark Bowden pages 297-299). His trial by the hanging clergy Khalkhali lasted for all of 7 minutes. The 70 year old journalist was executed by firing squad on December 16, 1980. He was founding member of committee that created and supported the Tehran Philharmonic Orchestra and he was the flag bearer and Chef de mission for Iran in the 1956 Winter Olympics. His name is remembered and honoured by The Freedom Forum Journalists Memorial. Click here for information of an exhibit n the News Museum and for Amir Taheri's recollections about him. Also see Reporters Without Borders, CS Monitor, and here.
Mohammad Ali Jamalzadeh and AH at International Labour Organsiation Conference - Paris 1945
Source Jamalzadeh autobiographical article in Vahid Journal 1964 in Persian
After the Second World War, the United Nations was formed first in London then moved to New York so AH had to leave Switzerland. He stayed as a senior diplomat with the UN for some years before retiring and returning to Iran. I recently found a photo of him when UN was just formed after WW II in London. In the photo below he is standing behind Hassan Taghizadeh who was the Iranian representative at the UN. The picture is taken with the committee formed to present Iran's case against the allies continued occupation of Iran in 1946/7 in the Security Council. The process was started by Ebrahim Hakimi which eventually caused the downfall of his government. There was enormous pressure on Iran to withdraw the complaint by the British and Russian governments. This was one of the first complaints to the new formed Security Council. The odd man out in the picture is Ali Soheili (a well know politician and war time minister and prime minister). According to my grandfather, Abdolhamid Hakimi's memoires, Ebrahim Hakimi secretly asked Ali Soheilie to leave his post as the Ambassador in Egypt and travel to London and quietly negotiate a settlement with the Soviets. Soheilie was trusted by the prime minister as compatriots from Azarbaijan they knew each other. Soheilie personally knew the Russian Foreign Minister having worked in the Russian consulate in Teheran in his youth. Soheilie managed to reach a secret face saving agreement for the Soviet forces to leave Iran but the Shah under pressure from the British and the Russians was led to believe his reign was in danger and the Russian forces were about to move into Teheran (Soviet Forces controlled Northern half of Iran sitting 5KM outside Teheran) to remove him similar to his father. The Shah therefore dismissed Hakimi's government but not before the complaint was submitted at the UN. Though it was too late for the secret agreement with the Soviets to reach the prime minister Ebrahim Hakimi. Later Soviets left Iran under direct pressure from President Truman (but the incumbent prime minister, Ahmad Ghavam was quick to take the credit for himself ).
Committee to free
Azarbeijan from Russian occupation after WW II
(reference Institute of Contemporary History's Page on Taghizadeh)
1. Nassrollah Entezam. 2. Bagher Kazemii 3. Hassan Taghizadeh 4. Ali Soheilie 5. Mostafa Adl 6. Abassali Khalatbari
Standing directly behind Taghizadeh is AH
After he retired from the UN, AH returned to Iran and upon suggestion of his brother Ebrahim Hakimi and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi he tried to secure the nomination as Member of Parliament for Tabriz but the Governor General of Azerbaijan province maneuvered the nomination for his son in law. But AH preferred to run as candidate for his family (Hakimi and Gharajedaghi) seat of Meshkin Shahr and he was duly elected. After Mossadegh came to power he withdrew from the parliamentary life and did not pursue nomination as member for Meshkin Shahr. After the late Mohammad Reza Shah started to bestow the Pahlavi lands to the tenant farmers, he wrote a report on feudal landownership in Iran called Reform Agrere and together with Mr. Anoushiravan Sepahbodi were instructed by the Shah to establish the Bank of Development & Reconstruction (Bank of Omran). He stayed with the Bank as a founding member and director of its executive committee while Mr Sepahbody went back to the Foreign Office shortly afterwards. The Bank was an important part of Land Reform programme which completely changed the feudal system of land ownership in Iran.
After Ebrahim Hakimi's death in 1959, Mr. Ala was quite keen for AH to take up his brother's seat in the Senate (the upper house), but he did not meet one of the conditions which called for an MP to have served at least three terms in the lower house. Ebrahim's seat in the Senate** was not taken up by another Hakimi, their nephew Abdolhamid Hakimi though qualified did not take it up.
* See Hekimi, Abel Hassan Khan!
** Selection for the Senate or the upper house of the Parliament in Iran was either through election or appointment by the Shah.
Mrs Toran Farshi
For some reason AH was registered as Abel Hassan Khan Hekime in Switzerland
(See his entry in Administrative Commissions and Minorities / Minorities Questions Section)