British Policy on the Margins and Centre of Iran in the Context of Great Power Rivalry 1908-1914

Li-Chiao Chen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis explores British policy towards Iran in the context of great power rivalry between 1908 and 1914. In the said period, British policy experienced changes in responses to a collapsing Iran, in which foreign powers, namely Russia, Germany and the Ottoman Empire, also became involved. The thesis concentrates in particular on negotiations and incidents in the margins of Iran, such as the south-west region, which came to be seen as being as important as Tehran. The discovery of oil in 1908 as the authority of the central government collapsed led to increasing British involvement in the South-West by the signing of agreements with the local powers, in contravention of Britain’s long-standing policy of non-intervention. Neither the constitutionalists nor the vision of Mohammad ‘Ali Shah served the British need for order. On the other hand, Germany’s project for the Baghdad railway seemed to threaten British interests, which resulted in impediments to Iran’s plans for railway development. The British mediated in the dispute over the Ottoman-Iranian border, especially on Mohammerah, in order to secure their interests. In the employment of foreign advisors in the North and South of Iran, the British avoided irritating Russia rather than supporting Shuster in Tehran. In the South they favoured the Swedish Gendarmerie to protect their trade interests.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Martin, Vanessa, Supervisor
  • Mark, Chi-Kwan, Advisor
Award date1 Mar 2015
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015


  • Bakhtiyari Khans
  • Anglo-Persian Oil Company
  • Mohammad 'Ali Shah
  • Ottoman-Iranian border
  • Iranian railways
  • Vusuq al-Dowleh
  • Swedish gendarmerie
  • Morgan Shuster

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