Showing posts with label Queen Farah Pahlavi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Queen Farah Pahlavi. Show all posts

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Last Days of Imperial Majesty Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran: A Fairy Tale Ends In Exile In Tears

 As the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Aryamehr, 59, flew out with his queen, Farah, for a 'holiday' abroad; a fairy tale came to an end. His Imperial Highness, whose claim of belonging to a 2,500-year-old dynasty of emperors.

Coronation of His Imperial Majesty Reza shah Pahlavi 

The Shah left Iran in exile on 16 January 1979, as the last Persian monarch, leaving his duties to a regency council and Shapour Bakhtiar, who was an opposition-based prime minister.

Ayatollah Khomeini was invited back to Iran by the government, and returned to Tehran to a greeting by several thousand Iranians. The royal reign collapsed shortly after, on 11 February, when guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah in armed street fighting, bringing Khomeini to official power.

His Imperial Majesty Reza Shah Pahlavi

 The Shah never returned to Iran. He died in exile in Egypt in 1980.Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran on 1 February after 14 years' exile. He threw out Dr Bahktiar's government on 11 February and, after a referendum, declared an Islamic Republic on 1 April. Khomeini guided his country's revolutionary social, legal, and political development until his death in 1989.

Khomeini  returned to Iran in 1979 after 14 years exile

The year was 1979. His Imperial Majesty, the Shahanshah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran, was homeless and gravely ill. The once-powerful monarch who had ruled a modern prosperous country for 37 years from the majestic Peacock Throne, commanded a powerful army and controlled massive oil wealth, had been driven out of Iran by the followers of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.


He was now desperately seeking refuge, wandering from country to country, while battling a terminal illness, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a form of cancer of the immune system.


The Pahlavi dynasty

The Pahlavi family reigned over Iran from 1925 to 1979. Founding father Reza Shah Pahlavi was born Reza Khan and came from a humble background. 

He soon rose up the ranks from soldier to military leader to oust the last ruler of the Qajar dynasty, which consolidated power in the late 1780s. Reza Shah held court until 1941, when a British and Russian invasion forced him to abdicate. His son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, took over.


The younger Pahlavi wasn’t as beloved or as confident a ruler as his father. But then the tides turned, at least for a bit, in his favor. In 1953, the United States and Britain were confronted with a problem: Iranian nationalist leader Mohammad Mossadegh had been elected prime minister and was pushing to nationalize Iran’s oil industry, in which the two Western powers were heavily invested.


In the political upheaval, the shah fled. So the CIA and M16, loath to lose access to Iran’s markets, orchestrated a coup to oust Mossadegh and return the shah. Iran’s ruler was now back — and determined to hold on to power.


 “At the same time, there is a reason there was a popular revolution against the shah. The monarchy was facing a crisis of legitimacy because of the political repression of the shah’s regime.”

Reza Shah Pahlavi with Shahbanu queen Farha

In February, pro-Khomeini revolutionary guerrilla and rebel soldiers had taken over the street fighting. The military stepped to the side and, on the evening of 11th February 1977, the Shah’s reign was over. The revolutionaries had won. The Iranian monarchy was formally abolished, and Iran was declared an Islamic Republic led by Khomeini, who took over the reins of power.


The Revolutionary government in Iran ordered the arrest (and later execution) of the Shah and the Shahbanu. The Shah and his family had already fled into exile to Egypt on 16th January 1979, as Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and First Lady Jehan Al Sadat were personal friends.


However, Iran started pressing for extradition. Over the next 14 months, to keep trouble at bay, one by one country around the world shut their doors on the royal family. After Egypt, the Pahlavis stayed briefly in Morocco as guests of King Hassan II.

With Indira Gandhi Prime Minister of India

it was estimated that the Shah had a personal fortune of $1 billion. Despite this wealth, the family had nowhere to go.


The Pahlavis headed to the Caribbean, where they were granted temporary refuge in the Bahamas on Paradise Island, which the Empress recalled as the “darkest days in her life.


” The Shah tried to buy the island for $425 million, but his offer was rejected. Next stop was South America.

Leaving Iran

Mexico issued them a short visa and they moved into a rented villa in Cuernavaca near Mexico City. The stress took a toll and the Shah’s long-term illness of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system, rapidly got worse. 

They got permission to seek medical treatment in the U.S. Iranis became incensed with the U.S. government for harboring the Shah and they attacked the American Embassy in Tehran.

Khomeini returned to Iran in 1979 after 14 years of exile

The bungled attempt by the U.S. to rescue the Americans Embassy staff and citizens that were held hostage for 444 days became known as the Iran hostage crisis. Again, the Shah and his family became a liability to the host nation and were asked to leave. This time, they headed to Contadora Island, Panama.


Learning that, succumbing to Irani pressure, the Panamanian Government wanted to arrest the Shah and extradite him to Iran, Farah pleaded with Jehan Al Sadat to let them return to Egypt.

Return of Khomeini in Iran

With the Shah engaged in a life-and-death struggle with cancer, the US Government wanted him to leave the country. Former queen Farah Pahlavi in desperation contacted Jehan Sadat, wife of the President of Egypt for help.

In the face of dire threats from Iran and opposition from domestic extremists, President Sadat bravely extended an invitation to them to come to Egypt. He personally welcomed the bedraggled royal family at the airport and lodged them at the stately Koubbeh Palace.

Tomb of Reza Shah Pahlavi in Cairo

 Life of Her Imperial Majesty Queen Farah Pahlavi in exile

After the Shah's death, the exiled Shahbanu remained in Egypt for nearly two years. She was the regent in pretence from 27 July to 31 October 1980.President Anwar Sadat gave her and her family use of Koubbeh Palace in Cairo.

A few months after President Sadat's assassination in October 1981, the Shahbanu and her family left Egypt. President Ronald Reagan informed her that she was welcome in the United States.

The End

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