One Hundred Years of Extraterritoriality and Capitulations in Iran: 1828-1928


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February 25, 2022

In the age of imperialism Iran was one of only a handful of non-Western states that maintained their sovereignty. However, as in other places such as the Ottoman Empire, China, and Siam, this sovereignty was punctured by unequal treaties that granted certain Western powers extraterritorial rights. These rights were justified by the absence of a rational legal system that would safeguard the rights of foreigners. To regain full sovereignty, therefore, Iranians had to give themselves a modern legal system. This talk traces the development of Iran's punctured sovereignty and efforts to restore sovereignty through legal reform from the Treaty of Turkmenchay in 1828 to the abolition of the capitulations in 1928.

Dr. Houchang Chehabi is a Professor of International Relations and History at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, and an honorary professor in the School of History of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. His most recent book is Onomastic Reform: Family Names and State Building in Iran (Boston: Ilex Foundation, 2020).

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