The sitter, wearing his gold brocaded coat and Iranian as well as foreign orders, is clearly a high ranking official of the Qajar court, wearing the following medals: an Order of the Imperial Effigy, three Orders of the Lion and Sun, two Turkish Orders (Possibly Orders of Mejidijie), a Russian Order, and a Western European medal.
Very few would have been entitled to wear this combination of decorations, and there are two possibilities as to his identity. The first is Amin al-Sultan, last prime minister of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, from 1889 -97, and the second is Haji Mirza Ali Khan Sinaki, Amin al-Dawleh, the prime minister from 1897-1906. The former seems more likely, as our portrait shares his distinctive lazy eye.
The painting is signed 'amal-e mirza ja'far naqqash-e madreseh-ye mobarakeh-ye dar al-funun/"Work of Ja'far, the painter of blessed school of Dar al-Funun".
Ja'far studied at the Dar al-Funun (The College of Fine Arts), where he later taught, and was referred to as 'Muhammad Ja'far the painting master of Dar al-Funun'. He was trained first by Sani' al-Mulk, and was painted in watercolours, siyah qalam and oil painting. His recorded work includes a portrait of the registrar of Dar al-Funun dated AH 1281/1864-65 AD; an undated portrait of Amin al-Sultan; a portrait of Nasir al-Din Shah dated AH 1292/AD 1875-6 and a lacquered pen box dated AH 1304/AD 1886-7) (M.A Karimzadeh Tabrizi, The Lives and Art of Old Painters of Iran, vol. 1, London, 1985, p. 130).
It has also been suggested that this is a portait of the young Muzaffar al-Din Mirza before he became Shah. A rather less formal painting of him as Crown Prince in the Metalghalchi Collection shows him with the same moustache (Julian Raby, Qajar Portraits, London, 1999, no.125, pp.125-6). The face of the present sitter however appears fuller than in any photograph of the crown prince.