Imperial Iran


دودمان پهلوی

    Reza Shah Pahlavi

Reza Khan, later Reza Shah, also known as Reza Shah Pahlavi and Reza Shah Kabir (Reza Shah the Great), (March 15, 1878 – July 26, 1944), was the Shah of the Imperial State of Iran from December 15, 1925, until he was forced to abdicate by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran on September 16, 1941.
In 1925, Reza Shah overthrew Ahmad Shah Qajar, the last Shah of the Qajar dynasty, and founded the Pahlavi Dynasty.
He established a system of government that revitalized the goals of the Constitutional Revolution of Iran where for the first time Iranians were seeking for rulers who do not remain in power for eternity.
Known for being quite intelligent despite his lack of formal and academical education, Reza Shah introduced many socio-economic reforms, reorganizing the army, government administration and finances.
To his supporters his reign brought "law and order, discipline, central authority, and modern amenities — schools, trains, buses, radios, cinemas, and telephones".
For many Iranian nationalists he is considered the father of modern Iran.

 Reza Shah Kabir

In August 1941, the Allied powers Britain and the Soviet Union occupied Iran by a massive air, land, and naval assault, subsequently forcing Reza Shah to abdicate in favour of his son (see also Persian Corridor).
The Shah received with disbelief, as a personal humiliation and defeat, the news that fifteen Iranian divisions had surrendered without much resistance. Some of his troops dispersed and went home, while others were locked up in their barracks by the Allies.
The British left the Shah a face-saving way out:
Would His Highness kindly abdicate in favour of his son, the heir to the throne? We have a high opinion of him and will ensure his position. But His Highness should not think there is any other solution.
The invasion was allegedly in fear that Reza Shah was about to align his petroleum-rich country with Nazi Germany during the war: However, Reza Shah's earlier Declaration of Neutrality and refusal to allow Iranian territory to be used to train, supply, and act as a transport corridor to ship arms to Russia for its war effort against Germany was the strongest motive for the allied invasion of Iran.

The Shah's son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, officially replaced his father on the throne on September 16, 1941. Reza Shah was soon moved by British forces into exile to British territories, first to Mauritius, then to Durban, thence Johannesburg, South Africa, where he died on July 26, 1944, of a heart ailment about which he had been complaining for many years. (His personal doctor had boosted the King's morale in exile by telling him that he was suffering from chronic indigestion and not heart ailment. He lived on a diet of plain rice and boiled chicken in the last years of his life.) He was sixty-six years old at the time of his death.
After his passing, his body was carried to Egypt, where it was embalmed and kept at the royal Al Rifa'i Mosque in Cairo, (also the future burial place of his son, the exiled Mohammad Reza Pahlavi).
Many years later, the remains were flown back to Iran, where the embalming was removed (Islamic laws do not allow for embalming of the dead), and buried in a beautifully designed and decorated mausoleum built in his honor at the Shia shrine town of Ray/Shah-Abdol-Azim, in the southern suburbs of the capital, Tehran.
The Iranian parliament (Majlis) later designated the title "the Great" to be added to his name.
On 14 January 1979, shortly before the Iranian Revolution, the remains were moved back to Egypt and buried in the Al Rifa'i Mosque in Cairo.
It is to be noted that following the Revolution in 1979, Reza Shah's mausoleum was destroyed at the direction of Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali, which was sanctioned by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Many other historical sites were destroyed shortly thereafter.

The Children of  Reza Shah Pahlavi

Born in Tehran to Reza Pahlavi and his second wife, Tadj ol-Molouk, Mohammad Reza was the eldest son of the first Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty, and the third of his eleven children.

He was born with a twin sister, Ashraf Pahlavi.
However, Mohammad Reza, Ashraf, Ali Reza, and their older half-sister, Fatemeh, were born as non-royals, as their father did not become Shah until 1925.
Yet Reza Shah was always convinced that his sudden quirk of good fortune had commenced in 1919 with the birth of his son who was dubbed khoshghadam (bird of good omen).

By the time the Crown Prince attained 11 years of age, his father deferred to the recommendation of Abdolhossein Teymourtash to dispatch his son to Institut Le Rosey, a Swiss boarding school for further studies. 

Mohammad Reza Shah would be the first Iranian prince in line for the throne to be sent abroad to attain a foreign education and remained there for the next four years before returning to obtain his high school diploma in Iran in 1936.
After returning to the country, the Crown Prince was registered at the local military academy in Tehran where he remained enrolled until 1938.


Mohammed Reza Sha Pahlavi as Crown Prince

Mohammed Reza Sha Pahlavi as Crown Prince

Mehrpour Teymourtash with the Crown Prince Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
at Le Rosey in Switzerland

Mohammed Reza Sha Pahlavi as Crown Prince

Queen of Iran - Princess Shams & Princes Ashraf - 1934



Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, Shah of Persia 26 October 1919 – 27 July 1980), ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his overthrow by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979.
He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi of the Iranian monarchy.
Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi held several titles: His Imperial Majesty, Shahanshah (King of Kings, Emperor), Aryamehr (Light of the Aryans) and Bozorg Arteshtaran (Head of the Warriors.
The young prince came to power during World War II after an Anglo-Soviet invasion forced the abdication of his father Reza Shah.
During his reign, the Iranian oil industry was nationalized under Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, and Iran marked the anniversary of 2,500 years of continuous monarchy since the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great.
The Shah's White Revolution, a series of economic and social reforms intended to transform Iran into a global power, succeeded in modernizing the nation, nationalizing many natural resources, and extending suffrage to women.

A general amnesty was issued two days after Mohammad Reza Shah's accession to the throne on September 19, 1941.
All political personalities who had suffered disgrace during his father’s reign were rehabilitated, and the forced unveiling policy inaugurated by his father in 1935 was overturned.
Despite the young Shah's enlightened decisions, the British Minister in Tehran reported to London that "the young Shah received a fairly spontaneous welcome on his first public experience, possibly rather [due] to relief at the disappearance of his father than to public affection for himself.” 
Despite his public professions of admiration in later years, the young Shah had serious misgivings about not only the coarse and roughshod political means adopted by his father, but also his unsophisticated approach to the affairs of the state.
The young Shah possessed a decidedly more refined temperament, and among the unsavoury developments that “would haunt him when he was king” were the fates visited on Teymourtash; the dismissal of Foroughi by the mid-1930s; and Ali Akbar Davar’s decision to commit suicide in 1937.
An even more significant decision that cast a long shadow was the disastrous and one-sided agreement his father had negotiated with APOC in 1933, one which compromised the country's ability to receive more favourable returns from oil extracted from the country.

The Shah in 1941


The coronation ceremony began as the corteges entered the stunning Grand Hall of the Golestan Palace. The atmosphere was quite unique, worth of any Persian splendour of the past and rivalling with any royal event of the old continent’s ancient courts. All the eyes were fixed on the entrance of the room. The unique ceremonial of the Iranian Coronation immediately changed the mood of the guests when the ceremonial began to unfold. 

The first cortege brought smiles to all the faces and tears to many eyes. Preceded and followed by two officers, the four saluting with their swords unshielded, HIH The Crown Prince of Iran entered the Grand Hall with a dignity many adults could not aspire to. Dressed in his uniform of military commander (which he had been ever since his birth), Prince Reza Cyrus walked up the one hundred and fifty metres of red carpet without looking at either sides, where the guests bowed and curtsied and smiled as his impressively imperial seriousness.
It was evident, apart of the impressive uniform and decorations, that he was not an average young boy. He was the heir of a millenary empire and seemed quite aware of that fact, more than ever on that day, in which he had the consciousness of the burden of responsibility of his father and his own, represented in the ancient and archaic ceremony that was about to begin. He walked the length of the red carpet and went to take his place on what would be the left of his father, on the side of the Diplomatic Corps, where he was regarded with enjoyment and amazement. He did not seat though, and like all the guests he waited standing for the entrance of his parents.

Three minutes later, the eyes turned to the entrance again: the Queen, the Empress, the Shahbanou, followed by 6 maids of honour who took care of the fantastic train of her impressive dress, had entered the Grand Hall of the Golestan Palace.