Feeling for Farah

The Pahlavis are clearly as human and vulnerable as the rest of us


Feeling for Farah
by Peyvand Khorsandi

Muhammad Sahimi, who writes for TehranBureau.com told Time magazine last week: “Iranians are concerned about Iran. But, almost none commit suicide because of it.”

He was referring to the claim that Alireza Pahlavi’s suicide may have resulted, in the words of his older brother Reza, from the fact that Pahlavi was “deeply disturbed by all the ills fallen upon his beloved homeland”.

Mr Sahimi described this as “just a sheer political attempt to gain sympathy and perhaps support of Iranians inside Iran.”

One wonders whether he had seen Reza Pahlavi’s press conference in Boston where, while paying tribute to his “harmless” brother, the former crown prince nearly broke down in tears.

It’s a tad cynical to suggest that the poor man was scheming a PR coup while mourning the second of his siblings to “succumb” to the “illness” that is suicidal depression – in 2001 his 31-year-old sister Leila was found dead in London following an overdose.

If anything, Reza is to be commended for having the gumption to admit that such an 'illness' exists in his family – in doing so he has broken a taboo.

Ever concerned with presenting an immaculate façade, many Iranians associate depression with “divanegi” -- madness.

We like to think it’s others who suffer it, not us.

But, as Pahlavi says, the condition is by no means limited to his family – or for that matter to Iranians.

One of Alireza’s friends told VOA Persian that his condition was part of a ‘collective’ depression. It's possible.

Ahmadinejad representing Iran on the international stage, the aftermath of 2009’s fraudulent elections, headlines about a woman who might be stoned -- such things can trigger depression.

Mr Sahimi’s suggestion that suicides in Iran are not affected by political and social conditions is curious -- for they are in every other country.

Reza Pahlavi has every right to parallel his family’s suffering with that of Iranians at home and abroad.

Far from being the Imperial Family they once were, today's Pahlavis are clearly as human and vulnerable as the rest of us – it would take a hard-hearted soul not to feel for Farah Pahlavi at this time.

Of course, Mr Sahimi is not alone in downplaying the significance of Alireza’s death.

On Facebook one woman posted in response to claims that the Pahlavis are experiencing a surge in popularity: “not one single person on my facebook who lives in Iran commented on Alireza’s death. These people range from 30 to 48 and no one mentioned anything. Almost all are against regime. One of them had even noted positively about recent mid term elections in the US but no single post from Iran on death of Alireza.”

That probably says more about the fears of Facebook-users in the Islamic Republic than anything else.

In any case, this is surely a time to stand in solidarity with Reza, the former queen Farah, and the Pahlavi family as they struggle to overcome unimaginable sorrow.


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by AlexInFlorida on

This article reminds me of what I was referring to in one of my other posts about being honest and democratic in ones dealings with life and the world around them.  Not so anti-something, but pro being decent and coming from a healing place.


What happened to good old days?

by Mehdi on

When a prince or a princess used to be an example for others to follow. I used to read it in books how a prince or a princess was so brave and risk his/her life for his people. I used to read how they would be the fairest, kindest and smartest people in their land. I remember reading those books would inspire me. What happened to those days? Why are today's royal families so dysfunctional?

Could it be because they are all now under the strict control of at least one psychiatrist?

It is true, you know? They don't do anything without the strict advice of a psychiatrist!

And they are all dysfunctional.

They do not inspire anyone.

The same faith has befallen the British family - under the strict advice of psychiatrists. 

I would love for my land to have a real prince! I would love to see him dressed up in full uniform on a white horse rescuing the damsels in distress and slaying the dragons. 

Damn those anti-depressants. They have replaced every admirable virtue a we used to have. Your country worries you? Take one of these pills and everything will appear OK. Your people need your help and support? Take this other pill and you will see that nobody needs your help! And if your worries don't go away, well, the psychiatrist is right there to tell you that you either need to up the dosage or change to a "more effective" one. Every problem mankind has ever had can now be easily resolved with chemicals! Valor, courage, kindness, sacrifice, leadership..., well those are for the times of before the anti-depressant.

Somebody should tell Pahlavis that making it on the cover of a magazine as the most defeated family is not really an honor! You are being taken out one by one anyway, so why not fire that psychiatrist and do something that will leave a mark in the world. At least if you die, you die doing something valuable. What is the point of getting a PhD from Harvard or wherever and then letting a lousy psychiatrist convince you that there is no hope? 



...WHO CARES!!!!!?

by Souri on


We do care! We, the humanist ones among all.

If you don't care, then don't read these blog. Who needs your feedback?

The good behavior of the people, warms our heart and make us thankful.....  And the bad ones, just make us to recognize and appreciate the good ones!



by hass on

The Pahlavis are clearly as human and vulnerable as the rest of us...WHO CARES!!!!!?



by DelilahNY on

 I wrote these two posts not long before I saw yours. The first one was before, and the second one after, Souri drew my attention to the same information that is in your post here about his academic work.

//iranian.com/main/comment/reply/131784/369793 //iranian.com/main/comment/reply/132320/369892 It's me, Rosie. Since my latest 'departure' three months ago, I have only come here to post news on specific topics. And to write on the Hoder threads when there were was all this news about him during his furlough recently. Now Alireza's. I do it in large part to vindicate them. And I'm an equal opportunity vindicator, as you can see.  Anyone who is suffering, or has suffered, so much at very least deserves to be spoken about objectively.

It is the plastic screen which unites, it is the plastic screen which tears apart.



by Shepesh on


Dirty Angel


by Dirty Angel on


"Stuff happens and some, one way or another, get stuffed"


And thank you " Comrade" and " Bavafa"

by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

Belive it or not, majority of Iranian people have  lot more substantial concerns on thier minds ( such as  daily survival living in IR)  than suicides amongst the exiles ( incidentally  there was at least one more youngster Iranian exile who took his life during the same time, Yalfani's son, WITHOUT A SINGLE MENTION OF THAT in here).

Inside Iran  on a daily basis we have: arrests, incarcerrations, torture, executions and worse. Is it time to " keep our eyes on the prize?"and save the living?

YES. Ya Basta!

And, as a great American* once said: DON'T MOURN, ORGANIZE!

* Mother Jones

Azarin Sadegh

Voila an article about Alireza Pahlavi and his academic work

by Azarin Sadegh on

Actually someone sent me this article about Alireza Pahlavi and his academic works. I am sure most people would trust Ehsan Yarshater's opinion:



Aghaye Khorsandi

by Bavafa on

While I agree that the family need to be left in their sorrow and only message of sympathy is appropriate, I can't help ignoring the not so wise message from RP. He essentially opened the door for such criticism by equating the suicide of his brother with those young and brave who have actively fought IRI and lost their lives as a result. Now, one may believe that people need to cut them some slack due to their tragedy and I happen to (cautiously) agree with.

It is also fair to point out that there has been a barrage of fairly nasty comments about the people who think Pahlavi reign of power is long over and Iran is done with monarchy.



Heartfelt and balanced observations

by Monda on

Thank you for sharing some of our thoughts. 


Farah Diba

by oktaby on

is a strong woman, politics aside. Women (or men) could get crushed for less than what she has endured. The sympathy of majority of Iranians is with her independent of their view of Monarchy, and need not be supported in juxtaposition to Salimi et al's fallacy & vitriol 

Salimi spreads his Shariati & Khatami style islamism directly on IC along with other islamist defenders, mouth pieces & me-confused tribe that have helped lengthen the filthy existence of the rapist republic from the Western front. Did you expect him to miss the golden opportunity Alireza's death provided?


fereydoun taslimi

Alir Reza Pahlavi not a single article

by fereydoun taslimi on

I think Dr Sahimi is right and you don't see many Iranian youth who scape the torture chambers of Islamic Republic, committing suicide.

On a different note isn't it strange that you cannot find a single article, webpage or blog by the prince nor a single interview expressing his passion about Iran? (apprantly there is one so

Could it be the Pahlavi family did not want him to steal the show from Reza Pahlavi?


Feeling for Farah

by shamsi on

Thanks Peyvand. We are all human , and feel sadness and sorrow for the whole family. They certainly are in my prayers. 

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

with all due respect an Iranian from a very well known family took his own life less than a week ago and some just trying to cope with it;

mokba 1917 is still a delicacy for some and no one saying a word close to enough.!       doz vedanya

maybe ali p. can open up a free page for him in javedanegan.     Maziar

Azarin Sadegh

Thank you!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear Payvand,

I am so happy that you wrote this article about Alireza, and also to remind us that depression is not equivalent to madness. As a nation, we are mostly depressed and I think those who didn’t feel anything about his suicide should be recognized as the crazy ones among us.

All my thought goes to Farah Pahlavi and her family... I just can't imagine the pain she is going through now. I have always admired her and especially her love for arts.

I hope I could do something, anything to help her feel better...but I am afraid that it could be just impossible. I am sure she knows how much she is loved by most Iranians...(except some of the IRI crowd and a few among the leftists for their political stubornness. )


Very good observatin , dear Payvand

by Souri on

"The Pahlavis are clearly as human and vulnerable as the rest of us"

Why some people don't want to believe it, just blows my head!

And to those who think RP tried to take advantage of his brother's suicide for getting support and sympathy:

Wake up guys!

That first message at RP's website, was not from him. He probably hadn't even realized what they had put in his website to announce his brother's death. Do you really think that at those first hours of shock and mourning, RP was really concerned about the politics and what he will be posting at his website?
Don't you know what kind of vultures are around this family? The one who keeps this whole organization alive? Stop blaming one single person for all his miseries. Being human is not a so difficult task, is it?
I'm tired of seeing such inhumanity from both sides, the Monarchist and their opposition. Leave the poor people alone. Don't speculate on their miseries. Leave them alone, let them mourn their sorrow in peace.


The good behavior of the people, warms our heart and make us thankful.....  And the bad ones, just make us to recognize and appreciate the good ones!



by comrade on

Somebody, please. Is anyone really in charge of this preposterous PR extravaganza? It's getting as bad as CNN repeating Anna Nicole Smith's death over and over and over and over and over...

The Pahlavis fled the country more than three decades ago, and they'll never ever return to rule my beloved Iran. End of play. 

Are we still mourningNever increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything.



Thanks for penning this, Peyvand.

by Princess on

Thanks for penning this, Peyvand.