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The Privileged American: The U.S. Capitulations in Iran, 1856-1979

Availability: In stock
Published: 2014
Page #: xviii + 160
Size: 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-1568593302
bibliography, index, notes

 
$25.00

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Quick Overview

In Iran, in 1963, the United States conditioned the continued presence of its military missions on receiving immunity for the members of the missions and their dependents. In 1964, the Iranian parliament passed a law that granted partially the American wish. The enactment served as the lightening rod for much of the pent up dissatisfaction and opposition to the Shah’s reliance on the United States and his reform programs. Following a stinging rebuke by Imam Khomeini, the Shah had the fiery cleric arrested and sent into exile abroad. Upon Khomeini’s return to Iran, in 1979, one of the first acts of the Islamic revolutionary government was to repeal the immunity law—the dreaded capitulations.

Based largely on primary sources, this volume chronicles the capitulary rights enjoyed by the privileged Americans in Iran at various intervals from 1856 through most of 1979. Naturally, capitulations in Iran has had a long history. The first three chapters acquaint the reader in general to some salient aspects of that history. Chapter 1 examines how the Iran of the Safavids in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries granted as well as received, on more-or-less equal footing, capitulary rights in the context of international commercial relations and political representation. The subsequent chapters detail the coming of the Russian capitulations (Torkamanchay regime) and along with the extension of similar privileges for the nationals of the other powers, and the dismantling of that regime by Reza Shah is 1928. Chapter 4 traces the establishment of privileges and immunities for the members of one U.S. mission to the next, beginning with an agreement between the Mosaddeq government and the United States relating to the acceptance of American technical assistance. The last chapter analyzes the abolition of the immunity law by the Islamic government in 1979 while a pared down U.S. military mission was still present in the country until the takeover of the U.S. embassy in the November of that year.

Not an apologist for capitulary regimes, the author, who views the capitulations as sine quo non of dependency on American assistance, concludes by inquiring whether faced with the same set of urgent needs as the Shah, would not the Islamic government, with or without Khomeini at its helm, have agreed to the continuance of immunity for the American military personnel if their presence in Iran were required by the Iranian government.

author

Guive Mirfendereski

Guive Mirfendereski, a practicing lawyer, is adjunct professor of international law with the Legal Studies Program at Brandeis University, where he teaches international law and organizations, international economic law, and international development law. A cum laude graduate of Georgetown University’s College of Arts and Sciences (1975), he received his graduate degrees from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (MA, MALD and PhD). A graduate of Boston College Law School, in 2008 Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly named him a “Lawyer of the Year.” Among his many publications are "A Diplomatic History of the Caspian Sea: Treaties, Diaries and Other Stories" (London & New York: Palgrave 2001); 'The Ownership of the Tonb Islands: A Legal Analysis,' in "Small Islands, Big Politics" (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996); and articles in "Encyclopedia of Maritime History" (Oxford University Press, 2007) and in "Encyclopædia Iranica."

Preface

Abbreviation of Commonly Cited Works

Introduction

Chapter 1. Shah Abbas, the Great Trader

Chapter 2. The Qajars’ Torkamanchay Regime

Chapter 3. Reza Shah and the End of the Capitulations

Chapter 4. Mohammad Reza Shah’s Cost of Dependency

Chapter 5. Ayatollah Khomeini and Repeal of the Status Law

Conclusion

Bibliography

Index

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