Persian Delegation At The League Of Nations
هئیت ایران برای رسیدگی به شکایت نفت درجامعه ملل
Some 10 or 12 years ago I found this photo a long time ago in the online archives of League of Nations in Geneva. The League's archives are kept by the Indiana University. Their records are highly summarised and inaccurate. In their Excel sheet database of photographs scanned the record for the above is as follows:
Text From Index Card
Text From Back of Photo
June 9, 2000
One who did not need identification for me in this photo apart from Abolhassan Hakimi was Mr. Mohammad Ali Foroughi a prominent extra ordinarily learned man who was a protégé of Ebrahim Hakimi (there were members of the famous Bidari Lodge which included some of the key modernists in Iran including the artist Kamal el Molk Ghafari. Ebrahim had earlier introduced Foroughi to the court of Qajar to run the school for Ahmad Shah after the removal of Mohammad Ali Shah). Initially I thought Mr Foroughi was there to represent Iran in the dispute with the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later Anglo-Iranian, now British Petroleum) resulting in the infamous 1933 Agreement. My uncle Hashem Hakimi sent it to Mr Farhad Sepahbody his old friend & colleague whose father appeared in the photo. Mr Sephabody identified a number of the people in the photograph. Mr Sephabodi thought this photograph was taken in 1931 and he advised Forughi was prime minister. His identification of the year was based on his father's tenure as Minister to the Iranian Mission to Bern the capital of Switzerland. Having revisited this photo and the advantage of improving resources online, I now believe my initial guess was correct because Foroughi lost the premiership in 1925 and in early 1930's he was the Minster of Foreign Affairs. Mr Sephabody also identified one of the members of the Iranian delegation for the case against BP. namely Mr Gharib. Mr Foroughi and the Iranian delegation comprising Messers Gharib and Mosa Nouri Esfandiari left Teheran on 7th of September 1932 to returning 11th March 1933 (Bagher Agheli, Day by Day History of Iran From the Constitutional Revolution to the Islamic Revolution Vol 1). The previous month (3rd of February 1933) the League ordered Anglo-Persian to enter into direct negotiations with the Iranian Government (it was a recurring delaying and negotiating tactic of the British by trying to make any renegotiation of this wretched concession an intergovernmental matter). The Iranian sources are notoriously bad and unreliable as they are often rewritten with propaganda in mind or highly emotional.(*)
This photo is significant for two reasons:
The case against BP and the struggle against the injustice of the D'Arcy Concession is a significant part of Iranian history.
The person standing next to Abolhassan Hakimi, namely Abdol-Hossein Sardari, later was put in charge of the Iranian Mission in France during WW II and he saved countless lives of Iranian Jews and their French families. His heroic efforts were posthumously recognized and he has been called the Iranian Schindler. See BBC article on his life or printable copy here.
Abolhassan Hakimi's work in the League and later the UN caused him to be present and close observer of two key events in Iranian history. It is a shame he did has not left any record about either event.
The photograph is of the Persian delegation to the League of Nations Geneva. From the Right: 1. Abolhassan Hakimi member of League of Nations Secretariat 2. Mr Abdolhossein Sardari Member of League of Nations Secretariat (a) (Mr. A. Sepahbody's brother in law, Mr. Farhad Sepahbody's maternal uncle) who saved many Jewish lives in France later (see above) 3. Mr Anoushirvan Sepahbody, Minister of Iranian Mission to Bern and Head of Iranian Mission to the League of Nations (b) 4. Mr Abdollah Entezam 5. Mr Abbassgholi Gharib (Motarjem ol Mamalek) (c) 6. Mr Mohammad Ali Foroughi (Foreign Secretary) 7. Madam Marta Hakimi wife of Abolhassan Hakimi 8. Movassagh o Doleh Khajeh Noorie.
Mr Sephabody said Sardari was member of the Secretariat. I cannot find his name in the List of Secretariat Officials. There are other pictures of him with Messers Entezam and Sepahbody Senior so perhaps he was member of the permanent Iranian Mission to the League. Abolhassan Hakimi was working for the League by then and his name appears on the League's list (as Hekimi). Messers Sardari, Ali Motamedi ( - Dr Motamedi is not present in the picture) and Entezam were Mr Sephabody's staff in Bern.
Mr Sepahbody was Minister in Bern from 4 years from 1308 (1929/30) to 1312 (1933/34).
He was the chief translator of the Minsitry of Foreign Affairs hence the title Motarejem ol Mamalek literally the translator of nations.
Some additional thoughts, references etc.
The Outcome of the British Goverment taking the case on behalf of Anglo-Persian to International Permanent Courts of Justice / League of Nations:
Surprisingly Indiana University chronological record of League's sessions is highly biased, and instead of summarizing the League's ruling it gives a short summary of the entire 1933 Concession favoured by the Iranian Left incorporating the outcome of later negotiations in Tehran! Compare below with the report in Sunday Times (Perth, WA), Sunday 5 February 1933:
February 3, 1933
Anglo-Persian Oil Controversy Settled
The British and Persian governments came to an agreement over the Persian decision to nationalize foreign oil holdings in their country. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company resumed operations in exchange for tax and revenue concessions to the Persian government.
The case in the League was a legal case what came after was a tragedy caused by a rushed decision that the decision maker himself namely Reza Shah regretted almost immediately. I have not seen a clear proof of a sinister plot.
Same photo on Mr Sephabody's site: click here
منجی کلیمیان ایرانی مقیم فرانسه در جنگ جهانی دوم مقاله بی بی سی فارسی
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