The Tobacco Protest occurred in Iran in 1891. It was a revolt against concessions to westerners led by the Shi'ite clergy.
In 1890 Shah Nasir al-Din granted a tobacco concession to a British company. This concession gave the company exclusive rights to produce, sell, and export all of Iran's large tobacco crop. The shah was badly in need of money and had granted many such concessions to Europeans before. Tobacco, however, was widely consumed in Iran and a thriving domestic industry was going to be destroyed by the shah's actions. Mass protests against the concession were held, many of the organized by Shi'ite ulama. The clerics had a strong independent power base to attack the shah's position. Theological arguments were made that the shah was violating the rules of Islam and was selling the nation to the western Christians. It was one of the first times the Iranian religious elite had used their power to influence secular decisions and it was a great success. In 1892 the shah was forced to repeal the concession.
The murmurs of protest from tobacco growers in Karnataka against the "stepmotherly treatment" from the Tobacco Board are expected to grow louder in the coming days with at least two MPs taking up cudgels on their behalf.
The tobacco growers in the State have been complaining for long against what they term harassment by the Tobacco Board, which is not only headquartered in Guntur in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh but is also accused of displaying an "unmistakable tilt" in favour of the latter.
Though the Centre conceded the demands of the tobacco farmers in Karnataka by enhancing the crop size to 74 million kg and regularising the produce of almost 30,000 unlicensed farmers, the fight by the State's growers against the Tobacco Board is expected to continue.
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