The Foreign Service Journal - October 2017

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | OCTOBER 2017 47 political vocabulary became the IranianMunich, synonymous with appeasement and surrender. The indemnity bankrupted an already depleted Qajar treasury; the loss of wealthy provinces in the southern Caucasus brought foreign forces to the border of Azer- baijan, Iran’s richest andmost strategic region. In the longer term, the treaty gave Russia a voice in Persia’s royal succession and gave foreign private citizens, through the hated “capitulations,” immu- nity from local law. In the short term, the provisions for repatriating Armenians were to prove deadly for Griboyedov and his colleagues. If Griboyedov understood the implications of this treaty, there is no sign that he cared. He received a hero’s welcome when he delivered it to St. Petersburg inMarch 1828. Czar Nicholas I gave hima decoration and a cash reward and appointed him resident minister plenipotentiary—one step below ambassador—to the Persian court. Last Mission to Tehran By July 1828 Griboyedov was back in Tiflis. Amonth later he married the 16-year-old Georgian princess, Nina Chavchavadze, and in the autumn the envoy’s entourage, with the pregnant Nina, made the difficult trip to Tabriz. There he had the unpleasant task of extracting installments of the indemnity fromAbbas Mirza, whose father, the shah, refused to help. Finally, leaving Nina in the care of the English consul and his wife, Griboyedov traveled in hard winter weather to Tehran, arriving on Dec. 30. He quickly completed his twomissions. He presented his cre- dentials to Fath-Ali Shah and, at a secondmeeting with the shah, presented a ratified copy of the Treaty of Turkmanchai. Although both sides kept up diplomatic appearances, the mood in Tehran was ugly, as people digested the extent of the mortification inflicted on Persia. Griboyedov, apparently unaware of the simmering resentment, played the role of conquerors’ envoy and thought only of leaving Tehran as soon as possible to rejoin his wife at a country house near Tiflis. He planned to depart on Jan. 31, 1829. In late January a distracted Griboyedov was caught by surprise when a seemingly trivial incident involving Armenians became a firestorm. One of the shah’s eunuchs, an Armenian convert to Islam named Mirza Yakub, sought asylum at the Russian mis- sion. The desertion of such an important person, with access to intimate matters at the shah’s court, was a major embarrassment