Count Ivan Simonich, the Russian Minister to Persia, had encouraged the expedition from the
beginning and had made promises of Russian aid. On the other hand, the British Minister to Persia, Sir John
McNeill, had consistently pointed out the difficulties and had made clear the official British disapproval
of the whole affair. At the last minute, the Shah had doubts of Russian support in case of real British
opposition but Count Simonich was able to reassure him and he marched.
The events that unfolded during the next few years as a consequence of the Shah's decision
determined the pattern of relations in this part of the world for the rest of the nineteenth century. The
interests of Britain and Russia came into sharp conflict for the first time and limits were set to the power
of each that were not to be exceeded. The affair also made clear that Persia, Afghanistan, and the other
states of the area were no longer in control of their own destinies, but were becoming pawns in a power
struggle between outside powers.