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History of Iran > Molūk al tavāyef
1737 - 1795 A.D.
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Once again local tribes stood against dictators.
Afshârî (Afshari)
Nader Shah, 1737 - 1747
Ali-Qoli (Adil), 1747 - 1748
Ebrahim, 1748 - 1749
Shahrokh, 1748 - 1749
Shâh Tahmâsb II
Shah Tahmasb II's victories were achieved by his general Nadir Khouli (1736-1747), and when he attempted to lead an army himself against the Turks he lost large tracts of land to them within a month. Nadir returned to Isfahan, took Tahmasb prisoner and exiled him to Khorasan, placing Tahmasb's eight month old son on the throne, investing him with the title of Abbas III (1729-1736), and assumed the regency. He recovered all the land lost to the Turks, restoring the frontiers to their condition prior to the Afghani interregnum. On March 31st, 1736, following the somewhat opportune death of Abbas III, he accepted the offer of the throne, on condition that Shi'ism be dropped as the official state religion. This was probably as much to make peace with the rest of the Islamic world, in particular Turkey, as it was to mark the formal end of the Safavid dynasty.
Nâder Shâh (Nadir Shah)
Nadir Shah is thought to be responsible for commissioning the large paintings which hang on the Western wall of the palace of Chehel Sotoon. These are thought to have been by a Russian artist and a detail of one of them, showing Shah Ismail, wearing a turban ornamented with the tassels of the Qizilbash tribesmen, defeating the leader of the Uzbeks.
He was followed by his nephew 'Ali, who took the title of Adil Shah. He had Reza Khouli along with all but one of Nadir's sons and grandsons executed, sparing only Shah Rukh who was fourteen. He in turn was toppled in a coup by his brother Ibrahim Khan who blinded Adil Shah. Ibrahim was almost immediately deposed and murdered by his own troops and Adil was put to death at the same time. Shah Rukh was put on the throne, deposed, blinded, reinstated deposed and reinstated again!
During this time every provincial governor of consequence declared independence and the country was plunged into anarchy, leaving the way open for Karim Khan (1753-1779) to assume the reins of power and start the Zand dynasty.
Mohammad Karim Khân Zand, 1751 - 1794
Karîm Khân Zand
During this period the Bakhtiaris had placed a nephew of Shâh Soleymân (Suleiman) on the throne in Isfahan in 1750 under the title of Shah Ismâîl III (1750-1753). Karîm Khan (1753-1779) had him arrested and ruled as Vaqi, or lieutenant of the kingdom. Karim Khan appears to have been a wise and just ruler and was greatly mourned on his death in 1779. He restored Shi'ism as the state religion, and made Shiraz, whose great northern gateway is shown above, his capital.
Lotf Ali
A further period of turmoil followed his death, as his brother Zuki Khan, his second son Abul Futteh Khan, another brother Sadegh Khan and the latter's stepson 'Ali Murad Khan violently succeeded one another. The latter, after ruling for four years was over-thrown by Sadegh Khan's son Ja'afer Khan, who was poisoned within three years and succeeded by his son Lotf 'Ali Khan. The latter was eventually tricked into losing Shiraz to the first of the Qajars, Agha Mohammad Qajar in 1794. He fled the area and after a series of daring adventures eventually set himself up as king in Kerman. Agha Mohammad gained the town by treachery, slaughtered or blinded every adult male in the city and granted 20,000 of the women and children as slaves to his soldiers. Even amidst all this carnage and bloodshed he failed to capture Lotf 'Ali who escaped. Lotf 'Ali was later betrayed into the hands of Agha Mohammad who tore out his eyes and had him sent to Tehran where he was finally executed.

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