By: Mir M.Hosseini
Mehrangiz Dolatshahi became the Iranian ambassador to Denmark on Feb, 29, 1976 thus earning the title of the first (and so far the only) Iranian female ambassador abroad.
Mehrangiz Dolatshahi was born in 1917 in Isfahan. She attended university in Germany, earning a doctorate degree in Social Sciences. She was dedicated to civic activities throughout her life. In 1946 she started working in Iran’s Social Services Organization, as well as Organization for Support of Prisoners. She founded Raah-e Now Organization which later joined the International Women’s Syndicate.
Dolatshahi was one of the initiators of the Family Protection Law in Iran which for the first time recognized women right to divorce and in the case of a second marriage, forced the man to seek the permission of his first wife. Ms. Dolatshahi believed in equality of men and women, dedicating her life to advancing this belief. She established adult literacy programs in Southern Tehran. She was also Kermanshah’s representative in the Iranian Parliament for three terms. She served as a deputy for the International Council of Women.
The first Iranian envoy to Denmark arrived in 1691 in order to negotiate the release of the Iranian-owned cargo of a Bengali ship seized by the Danish fleet. The Iranian diplomat had been issued with diplomatic credentials by Suleiman I of Persia (Safavid Shah 1666-1694) and opened negotiations with King Christian V of Denmark, although he was unable to secure the release of the cargo.
In 1933, a Danish consulate was established in Tehran which was later upgraded to an embassy. Following a state visit in 1958 by Mohammad Reza Shah, Iran established an embassy in Copenhagen. In 1963 the King of Denmark paid a state visit to Iran. Up until mid 1970s the Danish Embassy in Tehran was one of the only two Danish missions in the Middle East.
Iran currently maintains full diplomatic relations with 99 countries worldwide.
Mehrangiz Dolatshahi served as Iranian ambassador to Denmark until the Islamic Revolution in 1979. She left Denmark after the revolution and lived in Paris for 30 years. In 2002, she published a book titled “Society, Government, and Iran’s Women’s Movement ” which serves as an important document pertaining to Iranian women’s historic endeavors to secure equality and advancement.
Mehrangiz Dolatshahi died in Paris on Oct, 14, 2008 at the age of 91.