Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

ThePahlaviGallery.

In Uncategorized on March 17, 2011 at 9:26 pm

              L'Iran , Une puissance devoilee

Farah Diba pursued an interest in architecture at the École Spéciale d’Architecture in Paris where she was a student of Albert Besson. Many Iranian students who were studying abroad at this time were dependent on State sponsorship in order to do so. Therefore when the Shah, as head of state, made official visits to foreign countries, he would frequently meet with a selection of local Iranian students. It was during such a meeting in 1959 at the Iranian Embassy in Paris that Farah Diba was first presented to Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. She complained to the Shah that Iranian currency restrictions made life for students abroad difficult. She repeated the complaint a year later to Ardeshir Zahedi, the son-in-law to the Shah by his first daughter Shahnaz. The Shah met her again, this time over tea, and proposed to her and she accepted.Farah Diba married the Shah on 21 December 1959, aged 21.

The below picture has been taken at the 2500 years parade which was a set of festivities that took place October 12–16 1971, on the occasion of the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great. The intent of the celebration was to demonstrate Iran’s long history and to showcase its contemporary advancements under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran.

The New York Times reported that $100 million was spent. Next to the ancient ruins of Persepolis, the Shah gave orders to build a tent city covering 160 acres (0.65 km2), studded with three huge royal tents and fifty-nine lesser ones arranged in a star-shaped design. French chefs from Maxim’s of Paris prepared breast of peacock for royalty and dignitaries around the world, the buildings were decorated by Maison Jansen (the same firm that helped Jacqueline Kennedy redecorate the White House), the guests ate off Limoges porcelain china and drank from Baccaratcrystal glasses. Lanvin designed the uniforms of the Imperial Household. 250 red Mercedes-Benz limousines were used to chauffeur guests from airport and back. Dinnerware was created by Limoges and linen by Porthault. This became a major scandal as the contrast between the dazzling elegance of celebration and the misery of the nearby villages was so dramatic that no one could ignore it. Months before the festivities, university students struck in protest. Indeed, the cost was so sufficiently impressive that the Shah forbade his associates to discuss the actual figures.

” A brilliant but dangerous megalomaniac , who is likely to pursue his own aim in disregard of US Interests “

Tea and Cookie time , my favourite picture

Royal Coronation in 1967. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi proclaims himself : His Imperial Majesty, Shahanshah (King of Kings, Emperor), Aryamehr (Light of the Aryans) and Bozorg Arteshtārān (Head of the Warriors).

His lifestyle , the image he gave of his family and his environment –  walks in the West,  stays in the european ski resorts – make appear a character, a family, an entourage that had no more link with the Iranian population and the Shah acutally  lived all his life with the illusion that he was extremely popular. The necessary bond between the monarch and his people was broken. However , the West and especially the US were so out of touch with realities in Iran and in the Middlea- East. On the first january 1978 , a year before the revolution , Carter stated: “ Iran is an island of stability amongst a troubled region (Middle East) which provides security for the whole region.” This blunder was based on combine false and flawed analysis by CIA, State Department and Pentagon. A few months later, Iran went into a chaotic anarchy and through a revolution!

                   THE QUEEN AND I 

Beset by advanced cancer, the shah left Iran in January 1979 to begin a life in exile. He lived in Egypt, Morocco, the Bahamas, and Mexico before going to the United States for treatment of lymphatic cancer. The couple’s presence in the United States further inflamed the already tense relations between Washington and the revolutionaries in Tehran. His arrival in New York City led to the Iranian takeover of the American Embassy in Tehran and the taking hostage of more than 50 Americans for 444 days. In these difficult circumstances, the Shah and Empress were not given permission to remain in the United States. A short time after receiving basic medical attention, the couple again departed to Latin America, although this time destined for Contadora Island in Panama. Then, speculation arose that the Panamanian Government was seeking to arrest the Shah in preparation for extradition to Iran. Under these conditions the Shah and Empress again made an appeal to President Anwar El Sadat to return to Egypt.Their request was granted and they returned to Egypt in March 1980, where they remained until the Shah’s death four months later on 27 July 1980.

in Exile in the Death Bed , 1980

“My main mistake was to have made an ancient people advance by forced marches toward independence, health, culture, affluence, comfort.”

Mohammad Reza Shah and Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi 1941-1979.

 

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  1. Vive le Sha

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