Iran Dokht Teymourtash (1914-1991 AD) is considered a pioneer among Iranian women. She is known to be the very first woman to appear in public unveiled when delivering the commencement address for her graduating class in 1930, several years before Reza Shah banned the veil.
Her father was Abdol Hossein Teymourtash, one of the most influential Iranian politicians who served as the first Minister of Court of the Pahlavi dynasty and is credited for laying the foundations of modern Iran in the 20th century. Impressed by the breadth of his knowledge, an American representative in Tehran, once said, “…the man’s gifts were extraordinary as to appear unnatural. Whether it was foreign affairs, the construction of railways…, educational administration or finance, he, as a rule, could discuss those subjects more intelligently than the so-called competent ministers.” He spoke fluent Farsi, French, Russian and German and had strong command of English and Turkish. However, finally, while attempting to revise the terms of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company which retained near monopoly control over the industry in Iran, he managed to anger the British who did not want to give up power and control.
Due to his powerful position he had created enemies, and many believe that the British had a hand in forging documents to convince Reza Shah that Abdol Hossein was a traitor and Soviet spy.
He was ultimately arrested and killed in prison and his family forced into years of exile. After the Allied occupation of Iran and Reza Shah’s own exile, the Teymourtash family returned to Iran. Iran Dokht who had inherited her father’s strength of character, traveled to Iraq to avenge her father. She succeeded in arranging for the extradition to Iran of the person believed to have killed her father, Doctor Ahmadi, who was subsequently tried and sentenced in Tehran for having arranged the murder of various individuals in Qasr prison.
Iran Dokht also served as the first female editor of an Iranian newspaper and earned a PhD in philosophy and literature while residing in France. Despite Mohmmad Reza Shah’s attempts at reconciliation, and even giving her the opportunity to briefly serve as the press attaché at the Iranian embassy in Paris, she never became close to the royal court again.
Though briefly engaged to Hossein Ali Qaragozlu, Iran Dokht never married. She passed away in 1991 in France.
* "Iran Teymourtash" Wikipedia CC SA BY 3.0 (English and Farsi versions)
* "Abdolhossein Teymourtash" Wikipedia CC SA BY 3.0; Photo: Iran Teymourtash