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Mojtahed-Zadeh, Pirouz (1993) Evolution of Eastern Iranian boundaries: Role of the Khozeimeh Amirdom of Qaenat and Sistan. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis is an historiographic examination of the emergence of Eastern Iranian boundaries. It examines the dual impact of Anglo-Russian geopolitics of the nineteenth century, and the nature of centre-periphery relationships within Iran's political system. Iran's political decisions in respect to her eastern flanks appear to have been mostly made in response to the impact of the so-called Great Game of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries played by Britain and Russia in the East. Meanwhile, the political centre in Iran appears to have revelled in the tradition of leaving political events on the geographical peripheries of the country to the provincial political actors without modifying and/or strengthening the ancient structure of centre-periphery relationships. These arguments bring the thesis to its central discussion. It has continuously been argued that "monopolism" of political power throughout most of the history has meant that the centre was solely responsible for making and implementing all decisions in Iran. This argument neglects the fact that the provincial political units, especially the frontier-keeping states of Iran were more effective in shaping the political geography of Iran's borderlands. This notion constitutes the overall hypothesis of this work which will be partly examined in the general introduction, and in part, in the subsequent chapters. The schematic model of Jean Gottmann's "Iconography" forms the basis for some theoretical frameworks within which the hypothesis will be examined. In this context, the frontier-keeping state "Amirdom" of Khozeimeh of Eastern Iranian borderlands provides the best example of Iran's traditional political system. The historical background, political structure and regional role of the Khozeimeh Amirdom is first examined, followed by an account of the Amirdom's foreign relations. A brief introduction to the historical background of the political process which led to the partitioning of Greater Khorasan and separation of Herat is given. The hypothesis here is that these political processes set the stage for the emergence of Eastern Iranian boundaries largely to suit the strategic needs of British India. The actual delimitation and demarcation of the Khorasan and Baluchistan boundaries is examined. The hypothesis is proposed that the impact of the role of Khozeimeh Amirdom locally influenced the shape of these boundaries in favour of Iran. Evolution of the Sistan boundaries is discussed in which the impelling role of the Khozeimeh Amir of the time became more apparent. The second boundary arbitration of Sistan is reviewed which took place at the time when the role of the frontier-keeping Amirdom of Khozeimeh was largely undermined by the Iranian central authorities. The contrast between the role of the Khozeimeh Amirs in this period and that of the period of first boundary arbitration of Sistan demonstrates that whenever the interests of the central power coincided with those of the frontier-keeping states Iran benefited from it and whenever this coincidence of interests diminished, Iran suffered geographically. Finally the evolution of Hirmand water disputes between Iran and Afghanistan is examined to show how ineffective was the policy of involvement of central government in border issues when the role of local influence was marginalised. A general conclusion gives a guideline for a fresh approach towards the settlement of the Hirmand water disputes satisfactory to both Iran and Afghanistan.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:08

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