Oriana Fallaci interview with Mohammad Reza Shah
O.F.: My goodness, it must be a great nuisance! I mean, it must be pretty lonely being a king instead of a man.
M.R.P.: I don’t deny I’m lonely. Deeply so. A king, when he doesn’t have to account to anyone for what he says and does, is inevitably very much alone. But I’m not entirely alone because I’m accompanied by a force that others can’t see. My mystical force. And the I get messages. Religious messages. I’m very, very religious. I believe in God, and I’ve always said that if God didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him. Oh, I feel so sorry for those poor souls who don’t have God. You can’t live without God. I’ve lived with God ever since the age of five. That is, since God gave me those visions.
OF: Visions, Majesty?
MRP: Yes, visions. Apparitions.
OF: Of what? Of whom?
MRP: Of prophets. Oh, I’m surprised you don’t know about it. Everyone knows I’ve had visions. I even wrote it in my autobiography. As a child I had two visions. One when I was five and one when I was six. The first time, I saw our Prophet Ali, he who, according to our religion, disappeared to return on the day when he would save the world. I had an accident – I fell against a rock. And he saved me – he placed himself between me and the rock. I know because I saw him. And not in a dream – in reality. Material reality, if you see what I mean. I was the only one who saw him. The person who was with me didn’t see him at all. But no one else was supposed to see him except me because … Oh, I’m afraid you don’t understand me.
OF: Indeed I don’t, Majesty. I don’t understand you at all. We had got off to such a good start, and instead now … This business of visions, of apparitions.. It’s not clear to me, that’s all.
MRP: Because you don’t believe. You don’t believe in God, you don’t believe me. Many people don’t. Even my father didn’t believe it. He never believed it, he always laughed about it. Anyway many people, albeit respectfully, ask if I didn’t ever suspect it was a fantasy. My answer is no. No, because I believe in God, in the fact of having been chosen by God to accomplish a mission. My visions were miracles that saved the country. My reign has saved the country and it’s saved it because God was besides me. I mean, it’s not fair for me to take all the credit for myself for the great things that I’ve done for Iran. Mind you, I could. But I don’t want to, because I know that there was someone else behind me. It was God. Do you see what I mean?
OF: No, Majesty. Because.. well, did you have these visions only as a child, or have you also had them later as an adult?
MRP: I told you, only as a child. Never as an adult – only dreams. At intervals of one or two years. Or every seven or eight years. For instance, I once had two dreams in the span of fifteen years.
OF: What dreams, Majesty?
MRP: Religious dreams. Based on my mysticism. Dreams in which I saw what would happen in tow or three months, and that happened just that way in two or three months. But what these dreams were about, I can’t tell you. They didn’t have to do with me personally; they had to do with domestic problems of the country and so should be considered as state secrets. But perhaps you’d understand better if instead of the word dreams I used the word presentiments. I believe in presentiments too. Some believe in reincarnation, I believe in presentiments. I have continuous presentiments, as strong as my instinct. Even the day they shot at me from a distant of six feet, it was my instinct that saved me. Because, instinctively, while the assassin was emptying his revolver at me, I did what in boxing is called shadow dancing. And a fraction of a second before he aimed at my heart, I moved aside in such a way that the bullet went into my shoulder. A miracle. I also believe in miracles. When you think I’ve been wounded by a good five bullets, one in the face, one in the shoulder, one in the head, two in the body, and that the last one stuck in the barrel because the trigger jammed… You have to believe in miracles. I’ve had so many air disasters, and yet I’ve always come out unscathed – thanks to a miracle while by God and the prophets. I see you’re incredulous.