If a recent archaeological find is correct, then perhaps the mysterious mummy that was recently discovered in Iran may in fact belong to the father of the last Shah, Reza Shah Pahlavi. This is courtesy of an accidental discovery of construction workers at a demolished shrine dedicated to Abdol Azim along Rey, by the southern part of Iran capital Tehran.

According to the Independent, the shrine was found directly behind Rezah Shah’s mausoleum, demolished back in 1979 during the Iranian revolution which hoped to eradicate the legacy of Rezah Shah’s monarchy.  

Hassan Khalilabadi, head of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Committee of Tehran, confirmed that a mummified body was found in the site, and that there’s a possibility that the body may in fact be Reza Shah Pahlavi’s. However, it will still have to be examined by the proper authorities in order to be confirmed.

Others said the discovery is just a rumor, including the press office of the Abdol Azim shrine itself. Mostafa Ajoorloo, director of Abdol Azim’s public relations, said that since the area around the shrine is a cemetery, it’s natural that mummified bodies will be discovered there.  

It can be recalled that Rezah Shah Pahlavi of Iran was an autocratic ruler with quite a

controversial modernization policy. His rule had brought changes in the nation, including women becoming lawyers and doctors, much to the qualms of Muslim clerics in Iran back then.


A Rocky History: Who Is Reza Shah?

iranReza Shah is popularly known to have obtained power in Persia – now Iran – back in 1921 during a coup d’etat. He first became prime minister and then ascended as legal monarch in 1925. Among the many things that happened during his rule included the creation of the Pahlavi dynasty, and his policies started to form the foundations of modern Iran.

As an autocratic ruler, he quickly introduced various tax reforms and took advantage of Iran’s oil revenues to enact his policies. Some of these included directives to have men wear western clothing, and for women to be able to go to public functions with uncovered hair.

In fact, in 1936 he banned women from wearing chadors, or full-length black roles. He also allowed women to study medicine and law, and for doctors to dissect bodies of humans for the first time. He also imposed fines for restaurants, hotels, and cinemas that didn’t open their doors to both men and women.

As such, devout Muslims had negative reactions to such reforms. Shia clerics also appeared to develop a deep resentment over the Shah’s policies that eventually led to the Shah being overthrown, especially when he was forced to surrender the throne in the midst of Soviet Union and British invasions in 1941.


History Lesson: The Fall Of The Dynasty

The fall of the Shah’s rule began in the 1930s, when Reza Shah rejected a large oil contract that was being handled by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which was then having relations with the Soviets and the Brits. While there was a new contract, it failed to restore relationships between the three parties. While the fallout was happening, the Shah also encouraged German economic enterprises in Iran ahead of World War 2.

When Allies successfully invaded Iran, the British wanted the Shah’s son to have the throne, as they believed he would be able to serve the interests of the British with Iran much better than his father. As such, Crown Prince Mohammad Reza Pahlavi took over the throne in 1941 and ruled until the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Rezah Shah passed away in South Africa in 1944, where his body was eventually moved to Cairo for mummification. It was eventually flown back to Iran to be held in the mausoleum.

Unfortunately, the mausoleum was ordered to be destroyed by cleric Ayatollan Sadegh during the revolution. Pneumatic drills and sledgehammers were used to put it to the ground.

While state media referred the monarchic dynasties in Persia as “despotic,” various Iranian youth have shown interest studying these dynasties through the years. Period pieces in Iranian television also included features of various dynasties.




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