Mirza Reza Kermani

Mirza Reza Kermani (Persian: میرزا رضا کرمانی) ( Born in 1854 in Kerman, Persia (modern Iran) – 10 August 1896 in Tehran) was an adherent of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and an Iranian who assassinated King Nasser-al-Din.[1]

Mirza Reza Kermani shortly before his execution


He and other followers of al-Afghani were demanding that the Qajar dynasty rule Persia/Iran justly. After al-Afghani was expelled from Iran by the Qajars, Kermani began to openly and publicly criticize Qajar officials. Eventually Kermani was imprisoned, his wife divorced him, and his son was made into a servant.[2] In 1895, he visited Jamal al-Din al-Afghani in Istanbul, and they planned the assassination of Nasser-al-Din Shah, before Kermani returned to Iran.[3]

Assassination of Nasser-al-Din ShahEdit

On 1 May 1896, Kermani assassinated Nasser-al-Din Shah in the Shah Abdol Azim shrine.[4]

He is reported to have said "I had a chance to kill him (the Shah) before, but I didn't because the Jews were celebrating their picnic after the 8th day of Passover. I did not want the Jews to be accused of killing the Shah."[5]

It is said that the revolver used to assassinate him was old and rusty, and had he worn a thicker overcoat, or been shot from a longer range, he would have survived the attempt on his life.[6] Shortly before dying the Shah is reported to have said, "I will rule you differently if I survive!"

Capture and deathEdit

Public hanging of Mirza Reza Kermani, 1896

After killing the Shah, Mirza Reza Kermani escaped towards the border of the Ottoman Empire. Nasser-al-Din's successor Mozaffar ad-Din Shah sent a detachment of troops on camels to find Mirza Reza Kermani to avenge his father's death. He was captured at the Ottoman border. After months of interrogation,[7] Kermani was executed by public hanging on August 10, 1896.[3]

Some people[who?] in Tehran promoted the idea that Mirza Reza was a Azali but historical documents shows he was born in a Shia family.[citation needed]


Kermani's assassination of Nasser-al-Din Shah and the subsequent execution marked a turning point in Iranian political thought that would ultimately lead to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution during Mozaffar ad-Din Shah's turbulent reign; the Constitutional Revolution was the first major democratic movement in the modern Middle East, although it was preceded by the First Constitutional Era (1876–78) in the neighboring Ottoman Empire.


  1. ^ Dabashi, Hamid. Iran: A People Interrupted. Page 67. The New Press. Accessed 28-01-2008.
  2. ^ Dabashi, Hamid. Iran: A People Interrupted. Page 68. The New Press. Accessed 28-01-2008.
  3. ^ a b Axworthy, Michael (2016). A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind. p. 198. ISBN 978-0465098767. OCLC 914195458.
  4. ^ "Historical Personalities: Mirza Reza Kermani" Iran Chamber. Accessed 28 January 2008.
  5. ^ Habib Levy, Comprehensive History of the Jews of Iran, June 2009, p. 397.
  6. ^ Mo'ayeri (1982). Some notes from private life of Nasser al-Din Shah. Tehran: Nashr-e Tarikh-e Iran, p. 105.
  7. ^ For an English translation of the interrogation transcript, see Edward Granville Browne The Persian Revolution: 1905-1909, pp. 58-98.