By: Mir M.Hosseini
In the middle of the World War I, despite Iran's declaration of neutrality, Russians occupied Kermanshah on Feb, 25, 1916 and reached Ravandooz on May, 13 on their way to Iraq. The cabinet of Sepahdar Tonekaboni was dissolved on Aug, 12, as the Ottoman forces reached Hamedan. The next day, Ahmad Shah appointed Vosooghoddoleh as Prime Minister, but he could not create his cabinet due to disagreements with Sir Charles Marling, the British Minister Plenipotentiary in Tehran. On Aug, 18 Russia and Britain formally asked Ahmad Shah to leave Tehran and go to Anzali where Russians could protect him. The two states were planning to change Iran's neutral status in their own favor. Iran was in chaos.
In absence of Majlis representatives who had fled from Tehran, the Supreme Majlis consisting of 35 noblemen convened at the Qajar royal court on Aug, 19. They discussed the chaotic situation but could not reach any agreement. On Aug, 20, 1916, during the second session of the Supreme Majlis, it was decided for Ahmad Shah to stay in Tehran in order to keep Iran's neutrality. All foreign embassies were strictly asked not to leave Tehran and a committee consisting of three important people: Ghavamossaltaneh, Moshaverolmamalek, and Mohtashamossaltaneh departed towards Hamedan in order to ask Turkish commander Ehsan Pasha to refrain from proceeding towards Tehran.
On Aug, 22, upon Vosooghoddoleh's resignation, Ahmad Shah appointed Alaossaltaneh as Prime minister who was forced to resign the next day. Young Ahmad Shah did not have the experience, charisma or the authority to play Russians and British on one side against Germans and Ottomans on the other side. Finally, Vosooghoddoleh accepted again to form a cabinet on Aug, 24.
In Feb, 1917, British forces defeated the 6th Turkish army and occupied Baghdad in March while Russian forces drove back remaining Ottoman forces and stationed near the Iran-Iraq border. A new period of Russian-British influence that could lead to partition of Iran could have begun if the Bolshevik Revolution had not taken place in Russia in Oct, 1917.