Griboyedov Incident

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One of the first major anti-Western incidents that was religiously inspired.

The Griboyedov Incident took place when a Russian mission led by the well-known author Aleksandr Sergeyevich Griboyedov was sent to Iran in 1829. The purpose of the mission was to force the Iranian government to pay the indemnity for its defeat in the recent RussianIranian war and abide by the humiliating provisions of the Treaty of Turkmanchai. The mission heard that two or more Georgian or Armenian women had been forcibly converted to Islam and brought to the harems of Iranian nobility. In flagrant opposition to Iranian norms, the mission forced its way into the harems and took all the women away, allegedly keeping some overnight. The Iranian ulama (religious leaders) reacted by issuing a fatwa (legal decree) allowing people to rescue the Muslim women from the unbelievers. The crowd of people then entered the mission and became uncontrollable. When the Russian Cossacks shot an Iranian boy, the crowd retaliated by killing the whole mission, including Griboyedov, with one exception.

See also turkmanchai, treaty of (1828).


Keddie, Nikki R. Roots of Revolution: An Interpretive History of Modern Iran. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981.

parvaneh pourshariati