The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(pseudonym, Nazem ol-Doule). Born 1833 (1834?), in New Jolfa, near Isfahan; died 1908, in Lausanne. Iranian enlightenment figure, publicist, and diplomat.

Born into an Armenian family, Malkom-Khan received his education in Paris and Tehran. In 1851 he was appointed a government translator, and he spent some time in the service of the Iranian embassy in Istanbul. In 1856-57, as a member of the Iranian delegation in Paris, he had a part in concluding the peace treaty with Great Britain. Upon returning to Iran in 1858 he drew up a plan of reforms for Iran based on the European model and propagandized his ideas in the society that he organized, the House of Oblivion. In 1862, on orders of the shah, the society was disbanded, and Malkom-Khan was arrested and deported from the country. Soon, however, he received a post as adviser in the Iranian embassy in Istanbul. In 1871 he was an adviser to the Iranian prime minister.

During the late 1870’s and 1880’s, Malkom-Khan was Iran’s diplomatic representative in a number of European countries. He was removed from government service in 1889, but was again appointed an envoy to Rome in 1899.

For more than three years, beginning in 1890, Malkom-Khan published a newspaper in London entitled Kanun (The Law; 42 issues). It played a significant role in the development of Iranian social thought. In articles published in Kanun, and in his treatises on literary criticism and political subjects, especially during the 1890’s, Malkom-Khan supported the establishment of a bourgeois constitutional regime in Iran and demanded the implementation of reforms aimed at eliminating the economic and cultural backwardness of his country. His ideas and the clear, simple language of his works exerted a great influence upon the development of modern Persian journalism and literature.


Majmu ’a-ye asar-e mirza Malkom-khan (Collected Works of MalkomKhan), vol. 1. Tehran [1948].


Bertel’s, E. E. Ocherk istorii persidskoi literatury. Leningrad, 1928.
Adamiyat, F. Fekrazadi va moghaddama-ye nahzat-e mashrutiyyat-e Iran (Freethinking and the Prelude to the Constitutional Movement in Iran). Tehran [1961].
Rain, I. Mirza Malkom-khan. Tehran [1971].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.