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November 23, 1945

Telegram from Baku to Moscow, M.D. Bagriov and I.I. Maslennikov to Cdes. Stalin, Molotov, Beria, and Malenkov

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation


FROM BAKU 23 November 1945




We report information about Iranian Azerbaijan as of 2200 22 November.


On 21 November the National Assembly of Azerbaijan declared itself the Founding Congress of the people and elected a National Committee of 39 people. The Congress adopted an appeal to the Azerbaijani people and a declaration which it sent to the Iranian government with a demand to grant Azerbaijan autonomy within the framework of the Iranian state. They also resolved to send the Congress' declaration to all democratic countries with a request to help the Azerbaijani people accomplish their legitimate demands. The Congress approved a statue about elections to an Azerbaijani Majlis and charged the National Committee with organizing elections and putting the Congress' decisions into effect.


A meeting of the National Committee was held on 22 November where a presidium composed of Shabestari, Rafii, Biriya, and Ilhami were elected.


On 22 November the command of the Iranian division in Tabriz brought up to 80 soldiers armed with machineguns and ammunition into the city council building, set up posts in the courtyard, the roof of the council building, and also in a school and the governor's building. The troops began to dig trenches and equip firing ports in the southern and northeastern outskirts of the city, in the area of the Iranian military encampment.


On 21 November General Derakhshani gave the police the task of submitting lists of all leaders of the democratic movement for the purpose of arresting them. In spite of the fact that there was complete order in Tabriz and the population is behaving quietly, today 22 November he introduced martial law in Tabriz and prohibited street travel throughout the city from 1900 to 0600. These measures by General Derakhshani, which were not caused by the situation in Tabriz, might seriously complicate the situation and interfere with the work being done.


We request your instructions.


In view of a shortage of men, the General Staff gave an order to the command of the Iranian division in Azerbaijan to keep to defensive tactics, but to defend themselves to the last man in the event of attack on garrisons. Therefore the division command does not intend to send military units from Tabriz against the partisans until reinforcements are received from Tehran.


Tabriz reactionaries headed by Majlis deputy Sardar Satvet decided to send representatives from the population to foreign consulates with a request for assistance in restoring order in Azerbaijan. They turned to General Derakhshani about this issue, who did not give them specific advice. The reactionaries have not yet abandoned their venture.


According to information which has come in, when General Derakhshani appealed to him, Wall, the British consul in Tabriz, complained of the lack of opportunity to send his information about the situation in Azerbaijan to the Tehran Embassy in a timely manner. Wall said that, using his information, London Radio transmits inaccurate information about the events occurring in Iranian Azerbaijan. The consul expressed the opinion that the Iranian authorities would not be able to really do anything against an armed action by the people and advised Derakhshani to turn to the Soviet consulate for assistance inasmuch all these events occur in the zone where Soviet troops are deployed and the Russians bear responsibility for order. In reply to Darakhshani's statement that prominent representatives of the city of Tabriz want to turn to Wall for help, Wall advised against doing this, declaring that he cannot give them any help.


The Iraqi consul in Tabriz is spreading all sorts of slander against the Soviet Union that the Russians are hatching a new war and want to plunge the whole world into ruin again: the consul accused Churchill, who allegedly did not give the Germans the chance to defeat Russia, and that the British and other countries ought to think about the new Russian aggression.





Received via VCh

23 Nov 1945


Message sent to top Soviet officials reporting that Iranian troops had advanced on Tabriz and were waiting for reinforcements to engage the Azerbaijani partisans. Also notes that complications may arise as a result of General Derakhshani's institution of martial law in Tabriz.

Document Information


RGASPI, f. 558, op. 11, d. 99, ll. 0049-0051. Contributed by Jamil Hasanli and translated by Gary Goldberg.


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Leon Levy Foundation