Recorded: March 15, 2023
Event: Bilingual Lecture Series
by Houchang Chehabi (Boston University)
Mohammad Mossadegh, the Capitulations, and the “Standard of Civilization”
In the Age of Empire, Iran was one of the few non-European states to retain its sovereignty. The price it had to pay was the signing of unequal treaties that guaranteed the citizens of European countries extraterritorial rights, usually called “capitulations.” Only by reforming themselves and meeting the European “standard of civilization” could countries like Iran hope to be accepted as equals and persuade the Europeans to renounce their capitulations. In this paper, I chronicle the young Mohammad Mossadegh’s efforts to bring about the end of the capitulations and establish Iran’s full sovereignty, both as a thinker and as a state official, in the first quarter of the twentieth century.