Alireza Pahlavi Suicide and the Pathologies of Iranian Politics and Political Culture


Masoud Kazemzadeh
by Masoud Kazemzadeh

The reactions to Alireza Pahlavi reveal more about the pathos of our politics than the suicide of a person. Mr. Pahlavi’s suicide is tragic and sad. He suffered from depression. Some are genetically predisposed to depression. Traumatic events trigger episodes or long-term depression.

As human beings, we all should feel sorry for our fellow human being who commit suicide. I find the expression of sympathy by so many as one of those healthy signs in our community. I wish to have observed more, much more. Unfortunately, I also observe two forms of pathological responses.

(1) What is pathological is reading glee and happiness over the suicide of a man, a relatively young man. Mr. Alireza Pahlavi did not order any assassination or order the torture of anyone. The sins of this father and grandfather are theirs and theirs alone. Alireza Pahlavi did not commit any crimes.

I find it strange that when someone is down, others want to beat them up further. This is what cowards do. Courage is to stand up and fight against THOSE IN POWER: to expose them, to risk one’s own comfort, to present arguments against them, and ultimately to fight them on the streets. Courage during fighting needs to be completed with magnanimity after defeating one’s enemy. Once the foe has accepted defeat, we need to let them live. There is no honor to take advantage of someone who is down. Courage is what those who stood up and fought against the Pahlavi dictatorship then and against the Islamic Republic’s tyranny today.

In my opinion, today the main problem in Iran is the fundamentalist terrorist regime, and those who promote appeasement of this terrorist regime.

(2) What is also pathological is those monarchists who want use this tragic episode for political gain (not to be confused with those monarchists who are genuinely pained for the sad suicide of a man they consider and call their prince). Instead of grieve, they see opportunity to exploit for personal gain.

The Pahlavi monarchs have committed horrendous crimes from executions, killings, torture, stealing state funds and people’s properties to betraying Iran’s interests to foreign powers. This family has also suffered personal losses. It was courageous to fight against Pahlavi dictatorship when they were in power. It is necessary to fight against them if they want to come back and re-impose their dictatorship. What is bizarre is that there is no realistic chance that the Pahlavi monarchy would ever be re-imposed on Iran. That form of regime belonged to a particular era. Moreover, only a small proportion of the population supports the Pahlavi monarchy (somewhere between 5 and 10 percent). There are several problems with the Pahlavists.

The 5-10% of the population which is wasted on a group with no chance could be better utilized in the democratic opposition which would increase the likelihood of the overthrow of the fundamentalist regime. Monarchists have become even more dictatorial today than they were before 1979. Instead of admitting that the main problems were the lack of freedom, democracy, and human rights, today’s monarchists say the problem was that the Shah did not kill enough people!!!!!!! Although most dictatorial groups in Iran have abandoned their earlier authoritarianism, most monarchists are more dictatorial today then before the revolution. The monarchists spend much of their time attacking other opposition forces, which requires the democratic opposition (which by all indications is the most wanted alternative to the terrorist regime), [see //  ] from spending its resources against the monarchists instead of against the fundamentalists.

One should not confuse sympathy with political support. To feel sorry for the loss and the grieve of the loved ones is not the same as wishing to be enslaved to their family’s dictatorship. When we see a poor person, we will give him or her some money because we feel sorry for them. This does not mean that we want that poor soul to become our boss.

But everything has its own time and place. When a family is grieving the sad and tragic suicide of one of them, they pose no danger to our lives and our liberties. They are down. As human beings, we should express our sorrow and our sympathies for the loss of an innocent man. I have never felt so awkward writing a blog as this one. This is one blog I did not want to write. When a tragedy calls for our common expression of grief, unfortunately and sadly we observe POLITICAL discussions. The pathologies of our politics has sunk low, very low. Paradoxically, my discussion of this could only be done via discussing politics.

Lets hope that we could wake up and stop this mess that our tortured history has bestowed upon us, our dysfunctional political culture perpetuates it, and we, all of us, are guilty of accentuating it. Our politics is marred by deep divisions. Our political culture suffers from lack of tolerance and empathy. And our political activists are utterly devoid of basic knowledge of our history and democratic principles.

Our community needs to wake up and make serious changes about our priorities. Some time, somehow, we need to put an end to the pathologies that our community suffers from.




more from Masoud Kazemzadeh

What did the Pahlavi Monarchy do to you Mr. Kazemzadeh?


You claim you are 100% against Khomeini since 1979, how about before 1979, Mr. Khomeini was preaching anti-Pahlavi hate in 1963. His fellow colleague, Mr. Mossadegh also preached hate toward the Pahlavi in 1926 and there after. Are you a Mossadegh supporter? Are you a Qajari? Most likely.

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Dictatorship (of Shah and Khomeini) bad; Democracy good

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on


1. I am a secular liberal democrat.

2. I am on record since 1979 to have strongly and unequivocally opposed Khomeini’s fundamentalist terrorist regime Period, no buts or ifs.

3. I also 100% oppose the Pahlavi brutal dictatorship. Period, no buts or ifs.

4. Iranian people deserve freedom, democracy, and human rights.

5. BOTH the Pahlavi dictatorship and Khomeini dictatorship were/are brutal dictatorships. Pahlavi tyranny deserved to be sent to the garbage can of history where it belongs. The fundamentalist terrorist regime deserves to be sent to the garbage can of history where it belongs.




Dr. Kazemzadeh repeats Mr. Khomeini's lies about Pahlavi Era


Why is Masoud Kazemzadeh repeating Mr. Khomeini's lies about the Pahlavi Monarchy? Is it because Mr. Kazemzadeh has made his career by promoting Mr. Khomeini's lies about the Pahlavi Dynasty?

It has been proven to us repeatedly that Mr. Khomeini lied to us. However, ths Mr. Kazemzadeh continues to promote Mr. Khomeini and his bloody Barbaric Radical Islamic Terrorists position on the Pahlavi Dynasty.

It is a shame that Mr. Kazemzadeh has bought into these great lies that were spun by Mr. Khomeini to overthrow the Pahlavi Monarchy. What did Mr. Khomeini and his supporters such as Mr. Kazaemzadeh bring for us? A Blood dictatorship. 

Who are the dictators in academia and Iran today? the likes of Mr. Kazemzadeh who are forcing Iranians into this humilating and degrading and inhumane position. Shame on you for corrupting young minds with your Khomeini drivel.

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Thank you Houshang, Roozbeh, and Shepesh

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Houshang jaan,

You would make a superb professor. You have great analytic abilities. Your contributions on this site are very valuable.

Best regards,




Roozbeh jaan,

Thank you for your kind words. I can assure you that these folks can not intimidate me into silence. I have always stoop up to bullies.  And I will always stand up to bullies.





Shepesh jaan,

Glad you liked it.





by Shepesh on



At last a good blog on this topic.

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

Apart from few blogs by folks like yourself, a non_Iranian looking at this web site could get the impression that we Iranians are either a bunch of rabid islamist anti jew bigots, or hell bent on bringing back the dictatorship of a Monarch or down right neo_nazis obsessed with the "aryan past", in general incapable of thinking logically!

I like reading your blogs Masoud because they largely resonate with what the average Iranian back home or abroad think and want. Keep up the good work, and dont let the midget wanabe hitlers bully you.


"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


Dear Prof. K , your're too kind,

by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

In all honesty  I'm only  a "three times" drop out, and a life-long printer by profession.

However, In your side of ideas what has always  interested  me most in your texts are: the ideas, cocepts and notions about our current dominant political  culture, and its PATHALOGIES ( from "Authoritarian Personality" to ...); and feasible, viable suggestions towards reconstructing and a reconstruction" of  this  cancerous  process and conundrum.

One might say , could say: sensibilties very similar to what Ahamd Shamlou had in mind (and practiced) when he mentioned the notions of constructing a modern "national-culture" for contemporary  Iran.

Sabz bashi javan.

G. Rahmanian

Tudeh Traitors!

by G. Rahmanian on

یا رب سبب خیانت توده زچیست؟•این خا‌ئن بی وطن چرا، بهر چه زیست؟•چون می شود او از این غم ما خوشحال،•در شادیمان برای او جایی نیست!•

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Thank You Professor Targol

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Dear Professor Targol,

Thank you for your comments here.

And more significantly, thank YOU for your valuable contributions to this site.  You are a credit to the progressive movement of Iran.  If our leftists back in 1979 thought like you, we probably would have been able to form a powerful coalition against the reactionary forces and defeat them.





Starting with the matriarch of this....

by P_J on

Starting with the matriarch of this DYSFUNCTIONAL family, Farah Diba.   She stood idly by while her husband butchered innocent freedom loving Iranians during their MISERABLE reign of terror!   She seems to be as impotent today dealing with her children as she was when they ran the country, betraying and robbing it to the core!


Depression was a TABOOED disease 50 years ago, today this disease is well recognized, inflicting 30+ million people in the US alone, or about 10%.   There are varieties of psychotropic medicine that can deal with this dreadful disease, and affectively!   All you need is someone with normal intelligence who cares and can recognize it.   This woman seems to care more about photo-ops than anything else, hiring PROFESSIONAL HUSTELERS, on this site and elsewhere, to address her as her majesty, rather than caring for her family!   These INCOMPETENT SELFISH PHONIES are those who ran our beleaguered country, and ran it to the ground.   



If there was a person that Khomeini owed a debt of gratitude to; Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, one of the greatest TRAITORS and MURDERING THIEVES in Iran’s long tumultuous history, would be that person!

I am very sorry for the loss of life of this young man, who may have been caught in a political cross fire, but saying that his suicide is related to not being able to speak his mind is to use this man’s death as a political TOOL, and unfortunately Pahlavis/monarchists are quite capable of doing just that, and are doing it so!

The only form of political activity that US government, like other countries, forbids would be the creation of a government in exile.           


Here, here

by robertborden54 on

Although I respect constitutional monarchists as much as republicans (jomhourikhahan) as long as they are genuinely committed to democracy, I do share your view on two thing:  1. That the notion of bringing back the monarchy is squarely against the tide of history and 2. The monarchists (sans the constitutional part) who are trying to make hay of Alireza's suicide are once again proving they are nutbars par excellence.

Sargord Pirouz

Compounded irrelevance;

by Sargord Pirouz on

Compounded irrelevance; supported entirely by delusion. 


One should not confuse sympathy with political support.

by Hooshang Tarreh-Gol on

"Lets hope that we could wake up and stop this mess that our tortured
history has bestowed upon us, our dysfunctional political culture
perpetuates it, and we, all of us, are guilty of accentuating it. Our
politics is marred by deep divisions. Our political culture suffers from
lack of tolerance and empathy. And our political activists are utterly
devoid of basic knowledge of our history and democratic principles.

Our community needs to wake up and make serious changes about our
priorities. Some time, somehow, we need to put an end to the pathologies
that our community suffers from


Execellent, critically unrestrained observations, thank you.