The Beginning of Bulgaria-Iran Inter-state Relations: Facts and Challenges


  • Angel Orbetsov Ambassador-at-large, Bulgarian Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”



Bulgaria, Iran, relations, diplomatic agencies, consuls, subjects, monarchs


Cultural bonds between the peoples of Bulgaria and Iran have been vibrant throughout the ages but it was not until Bulgaria’s Liberation from the Ottoman rule in 1878 that we can talk about inter-state relations. This article reveals the main bilateral developments in their initial 25-year period, challenging some existing assumptions. The establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations in 1897 is correlated with the launching of official contacts between both heads of state much earlier. Iranian consular presence in the Principality of Bulgaria, directed by Iran’s Embassy in Constantinople, had a fairly long record but lacked consistency. Consular cases provoked disputes over the rights and privileges of Iranian subjects residing in Bulgaria and an attempt to solve them by a mutual arrangement. The first Iranian diplomatic agency in Sofia functioned in 1898-1902 and contributed to the preparation of the historic visit of Iranian monarch Mozaffar ed-Din Shah to Bulgaria in September 1900.


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Author Biography

Angel Orbetsov, Ambassador-at-large, Bulgarian Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

His diplomatic career spans over 34 years. He graduated in international relations from Moscow MGIMO University. He served as Director of the Bulgarian MFA’s Asian Directorate in 2008-2019. His postings abroad include Bulgarian embassies in Kabul, Tehran, and Islamabad. In 2003-2008 he was appointed Bulgarian Ambassador to China accredited also to the DPRK. He has been a lecturer at the Sofia University and the Free Universities of Varna and Burgas. He is the author of a Persian language textbook for university students and he edited the Bulgarian translations of two monographs. In 2020, he became a PhD student at the Faculty of History of the Sofia University and is currently conducting a research on the history of Bulgaria- Iran relations. He is fluent in English, Persian, Russian, and French.


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How to Cite

Orbetsov, Angel. 2021. “The Beginning of Bulgaria-Iran Inter-State Relations: Facts and Challenges”. Politeja 18 (4(73):205-19.