The Shah in the Eyes of Young Iranians

Many perceive a loss of “respect” in society since the monarchy’s fall.


[ dispatch ] More than three decades after Mohammad Reza Shah Phalavi’s death and despite relentless official demonization of the former monarch, the younger generations of Iranians have a soft spot for the man whom their parents brought down. Last Thursday, the anniversary of the Shah’s death, I spent some time talking to the residents of Tehran about him.


The fifth day of Mordad, the fifth month of the Iranian calendar, is not officially remembered in Iran. No significant event took place on the date according to the official calendar of the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, occasional “this day in history” bulletins in state and state-aligned media outlets include a brief mention: “On this day, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the former Shah of Iran, died in exile in Cairo, Egypt, of cancer.” That is it.


More than 70 percent of Iranians today were born in the years following the Shah’s fall. They do not have any memories of the man who ruled Iran for 37 years and has been portrayed as a Satanic, despotic dictator for the past three decades.



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