Goharshad Mosque rebellion

The Goharshad Mosque rebellion (Persian: شورش مسجد گوهرشاد) took place in August 1935,[3] when a backlash against the westernizing and secularist policies of Reza Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty erupted in the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, Iran.

Goharshad Mosque rebellion
DateAugust 1935
Result Massacre of the besieged civilians
State flag of Iran (1933–1964).svg Shahrbani Police
State flag of Iran (1933–1964).svg Iranian Imperial Army
Locals and merchants
Commanders and leaders
Iran Mohammad Vali Asadi Shiite clergy
Casualties and losses
2 officers, 18 soldiers killed;
2 soldiers executed for disobedience, 1 committed suicide.[1]
(128 dead, 200-300 wounded, 800 arrested according to a British report"[1])
Total: 151 killed

The incident is described as a "bloody event".[2]


The Shah's violent Westernization campaign against Shiite society saw a spike in hostilities with the regime in the summer of 1935 when Reza Shah banned traditional Islamic clothing[4] and ordered all men be forced to wear European-style bowler hats.[5][6][7][8][9][10]


The event occurred in response to the de-Islamization activities by Reza Shah in 1935.[2] Responding to a cleric,[citation needed] who denounced the Shah's "heretical" innovations, westernizing, corruption and heavy consumer taxes, many merchants and locals took refuge in the shrine, chanted slogans such as "The Shah is a new Yazid," likening him to the Umayyad caliph.

For four full days local police and army refused to violate the shrine and the standoff was ended when troops from Iranian Azerbaijan region arrived and broke into the shrine,[11] killing dozens and injuring hundreds, and marking a final rupture between Shia clergy and the Shah.[12]


According to a report of the Research Institute of Baqir al-'Ulum, which may have deliberately exaggerated the numbers, the number of killed by Reza Shah's forces were between 2000-5000.[2] According to a British report, which may have deliberately underplayed the numbers[why?], the outcome of the event resulted in 2 Army officers and 18 soldiers killed; 2 soldiers executed on the spot for disobedience; 1 soldier committed suicide; there were 800-1200 dead among the villagers, 100-500 wounded and 800 arrested.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Ward, S.R. (2009). Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces. Georgetown University Press. p. 140. ISBN 9781589015876. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Hovsepian-Bearce, Yvette (2015). The Political Ideology of Ayatollah Khamenei: Out of the Mouth of the Supreme Leader of Iran. Routledge. p. 44. ISBN 9781317605829. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  3. ^ Farrokh, Kaveh (20 December 2011). Iran at War: 1500-1988. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 264. ISBN 978-1-78096-240-5.
  4. ^ "Guel Kohan". Talash-online. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  5. ^ Milani, Farzaneh (1992). Veils and Words: The Emerging Voices of Iranian Women Writers, Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, pp. 19, 34–37, ISBN 9780815602668
  6. ^ Majd, Mohammad Gholi (2001). Great Britain and Reza Shah: The Plunder of Iran, 1921–1941, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, pp. 209–213, 217–218, ISBN 9780813021119
  7. ^ Katouzian, Homa (2003). "2. Riza Shah's Political Legitimacy and Social Base, 1921–1941" in Cronin, Stephanie: The Making of Modern Iran: State and Society under Riza Shah, 1921–1941, pp. 15–37, London; New York: Routledge; Taylor & Francis, ISBN 9780415302845
  8. ^ Katouzian, Homa (2004). "1. State and Society under Reza Shah" in Atabaki, Touraj; Zürcher, Erik-Jan: Men of Order: Authoritarian Modernisation in Turkey and Iran, 1918–1942, pp. 13–43, London; New York: I.B. Tauris, ISBN 9781860644269
  9. ^ Katouzian, Homa (2006). State and Society in Iran: The Eclipse of the Qajars and the Emergence of the Pahlavis, 2nd ed, Library of modern Middle East studies, Vol. 28, London; New York: I.B. Tauris, pp. 33–34, 335–336, ISBN 9781845112721
  10. ^ Beeman, William Orman (2008). The Great Satan vs. the Mad Mullahs: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other, 2nd ed, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 108, 152, ISBN 9780226041476
  11. ^ Ervand, History of Modern Iran, (2008), p.94
  12. ^ Bakhash, Shaul, Reign of the Ayatollahs : Iran and the Islamic Revolution by Shaul, Bakhash, Basic Books, c1984, p.22