Special Memoirs of the Shah and the Reaction of Foreign Interviewers to Them

Jafar Golshan Roghani
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


With the publication of the book "Mission for My Homeland" by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in September 1960, which can be considered as his autobiography and memoirs, some issues were raised for the first time that had not been mentioned before. According to Article 35 of the Iranian Constitution, he considered his monarchy a "Divine Gift", believed that God had chosen him and given him the mission to rule over the land and people of Iran. He repeated over and over again that God had given him a mission to control the destiny of the people and the people of Iran. He made the religious legitimacy of his kingdom.

In addition to the above-mentioned interpretations that the King considers his power to be manifest in the divine essence. In his book, he mentions three memories in which three Shiite imams and elders are present. In other words, he speaks of a dream and two feelings and observations that happened to him at the age of 6-7, thus justifying his legitimacy to rule. We are not mistaken in saying that these memories were a pretext for legitimizing his rule over the Iranians.

This memoir, which the King himself refers to as "Inspirations", "Dreams", "Revelations", "Spiritual Manifestations" and "Mystical Aspects" of his condition, provoked numerous reactions due to its repetition and retelling. These reactions lasted until the last year of his reign. In numerous interviews with non-Iranian journalists, reporters, and biographers, he recounted them, and interviewees reacted to the memoirs.

To understand how these people react, it is necessary to first reread these three memories according to the text of the book "Mission for My Homeland." We will then examine the reactions of Mrs. Oriana Fallaci in October 1973, and Mrs. Margaret Layng in 1975, and Mrs. Olivier Warren, who interviewed the King in 1975-1976.

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi narrates on pages 80-82 of the book as follows: During this difficult illness; I contracted typhoid fever and had been struggling to die for several weeks, which had caused my lovely father severe suffering. In this time, I entered a circle of special spiritual worlds that I have not revealed to this day. One of the critical nights of my boredom, I dreamed of Ali (PBUH) holding his famous sword "Zulfiqar" and sitting next to me with a cup in his blessed hand and he ordered me to drink the liquid that was in the cup; I drink. I obeyed and the next day my fever stopped and I quickly recovered.

At that time, even though I was not more than seven years old, I thought to myself that there might be no connection between that dream and my rapid recovery, but during the same year, two other events happened to me that had a very profound effect on my spiritual life. As a child, we used to go to Imamzadeh Davood with our family almost every summer, where is one of the clean and pleasant places on the slopes of Alborz. To get there we had to walk the downhill road or on horseback. On one of these trips, while I was riding on the saddle with one of my relatives who was an officer, the horse's foot suddenly slipped and we both fell off the horse. As I was lighter, I fell and my head hit hard on rock and I became unconscious. When I regained consciousness, my companions were extremely surprised that I had not been injured. I had to reveal to them that while falling from the horse, Abolfazl (PBUH), the son of Imam Ali (PBUH) appeared and protected me from being injured. My father was not present when this incident happened, but when I told him the story, he did not take my story seriously and I did not want to argue with him due to his spirit, but he never had the slightest doubt about the reality of appearance of Hazrat Abbas (PBUH).

The third incident that caught my attention more and more in the world of meaning happened on a day when I was walking with my instructor near the Saadabad Royal Palace in a stone-floor alley. Suddenly I saw a man with a heavenly face, and around him appeared a glance of light, like the face of Jesus, son of Mary, made by a Western painter made. At that time, I was inspired to face Imam Mahdi, the last Imam of Shiite. My meeting with the last Imam of Shiite lasted more than a few moments, which disappeared from view and astonished me. At that time, I eagerly asked my coach, "Did you see him?" My coach answered in amazement, "Who should I see?" There was no one here, but I was so convinced of the truth and authenticity of what I had seen that the answer of my old coach did not have the slightest effect on my belief.  Anyway, from the age of 6-7, I found a constant belief and faith that the Almighty God has constantly taken me under of his support and will give me faith. "I weigh myself against the will of the Almighty. I worry very much and wonder whether my will is subjugated or free, and whenever the eternal providence and the divine power are in my protection, then this providence is inevitably based on cause and expediency."

Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci interviewed the King for five days in October 1973. She had a challenging interview with the King and asked more questions when he was not satisfied with the King's answers. In that interview, the king repeatedly said in various forms in response to Fallaci's questions that he had been selected for a mission: "I believe in who I am and in what I do," "I believe I have a mission to accomplish, and I am determined to accomplish it without leaving the throne," It will not happen. "That day has been appointed by God, not those who wish for my death. I am a King before I became a human being. A King  whose destiny is to carry out a mission."

Then, as part of his answer to one of Fallaci's questions, he pointed to a question that surprised Fallaci: "A King who should not explain for what he does, he is necessarily very lonely." However, I am not alone at all, because the force that others do not see accompanies me, a mystical force.  I receive messages, religious messages! I am very religious and I believe in God ... I have been living with God since I was five years old when I was inspired!" Fallaci asked, " inspiration?!" The King  replied, "Yes" Inspirations and manifestations." Fallaci asked again in surprise, "From whom?" from what?"

At this time, Fallaci the King's repeated questions seem to confuse her; because in response, he mistakenly mixed the second and third memoirs quoted in his book to Fallaci, saying: "From the prophets. I'm surprised you did not know. Everyone knows that I have been inspired. I even wrote this in my biography. I was inspired twice as a child. Once at 5 years old and the second time at 6 years old. For the first time, I dreamed of Imam Mahdi, who has disappeared according to our religion, so that one day he will return and save the world. That day I had an accident and fell on a rock and it was he who saved me. He placed himself between me and the rock. I know this because I saw him not in a dream; in reality, i.e. material reality. Do you understand? I saw her. This. The one who was with me could not see him and no one, except me, couldn't see him. "Because I'm worried  you don't understand what I mean."

"No, I do not understand what you mean," said Fallaci, who was still confused by the King's words and did not understand them. "We started our conversation very well, but now the issue of these inspirations and manifestations is not very clear to me."

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who did not imagine such a thing from Fallaci, proudly told him: "Because you do not believe my words. You do not believe in God, you do not believe in me. Many do not believe. My father did not believe and never believed and always made fun of me. Besides, despite the necessary respect, I was often asked if I have ever doubted that this was an illusion. A childhood illusion? And I always answer: no., no, because I believe in God and I believe that God has chosen me to carry out a mission. My inspirations were miracles that saved the country. My kingdom has saved the country because God has been close to me. I want to say this: It is not right to attribute to myself all the great things I have done for Iran. Accept that I can do this, but I do not want to, because I know someone supported me; God. "Do you understand?"

"No," replied Fallaci, who still could not understand the King's delusional words. "But, did these inspirations happen only in childhood, or in adulthood?" The King replied, "I said that, only as a child, never in adulthood, but exclusively, lost dreams. At intervals of one or two years and even seven or eight years. For example, once I had two dreams in 15 years." What are your dreams?" Fallaci asked in surprise. And the King replied: "Religious dreams based on mysticism! Dreams in which I found what would happen in two or three months and exactly two or three months later happened. But I cannot tell you about them. They were not only related to me personally, but they were also related to the internal affairs of the country and therefore they should be considered the secrets of a country. But you might understand better if I use the word emotion instead of the word dream. I also believe in the feeling of the heart."

Then, the King called his survival from the assassination of February 26, 1949, a miracle and said: "I believe in miracles. When you imagine that I was wounded by five bullets, one in the face, one in the shoulder, one in the head, and two in the body, and the last bullet remained in the barrel because the trigger did not go off, you must believe in a miracle. How many planes crash I have had and I have always survived because of the miracles, providence of God, and the prophets. "I see you cannot believe it at all." Fallaci said in response to the King's special and supernatural remarks: " I'm shocked. I'm surprised because I am facing a character whom I did not anticipate him before and I did not know anything about these miracles and inspirations." (Fallaci, pp. 151-154).

One of the highlights of Fallaci's interview was that the questions and how they were asked had aroused the King's anger; As Margaret Layng writes at the beginning of her book: "After the interview with Oriana Fallaci, the King was visibly upset and anger. Several politicians in Tehran and London had warned me that if I did not want to be left out in the middle of the interview, I would choose my questions and phrases very carefully and think about each word."(Layng, p. 5). What Fallaci had not done, he did not fully accept everything the King said. Hence, it led to the anger and confusion of the King. Of course, the King himself was upset with the way Fallaci reported and wrote that interview, and he thought that Fallaci had somehow reported the content of that interview so that he could bite him (Layng, p. 259).

Margaret Layng, a 25-year-old English historian who was to write a promotional book on the King's biography, finally managed to interview him in October 1975 after 16 months of correspondence. Of course, before interviewing with the King, he had interviewed Assadollah Alam, Taj al-Muluk (Mother Queen), and Farah Pahlavi, and had heard descriptions of the King's behavior and actions. Therefore, according to an interview, Alam points to the position of the King's divinity as follows: "When I asked Mr. Assadollah Alam, does he think that the King has made one of the greatest nationalist generals in the world, General de Gaulle as his model of political life? The court minister replied: "He has a very independent personality." At the same time, how can a man who is the shadow of God on earth and the agent of fulfilling the desires of God choose a model for himself among other people? ”( Layng, p. 15) The queen mother also believes in God's protection of her son. The mother queen also believes in God protecting her son. "He believes that the king is not alone in the world because God Almighty is always with him" (Layng, p. 57).

In a conversation with Layng, Mohammad Reza also emphasized having a divine mission and said: "I feel that I was destined by God to do things. This has been decided and determined, and I will be here until the end of these destinies. "Of course I have a little right for myself, but I have a lot of faith." Do you think the years of your life are predetermined?" Layng asked him. The king replied, "Do I think so?" I'm sure. If not, how many times should I have died by now? ”(P. 196)

In an interview with Layng, the King recounted the story of the famous memories, albeit in a little more detail. After hearing these memoirs, Layng wrote in his book: "He could argue within himself as if he were the only one who considered the events protected by divine forces, not anyone else. And with these thoughts, this inner feeling was created in the King that he is a special and chosen person! And this inner retreat gradually gave to the lonely world within Mohammad Reza, the first feeling of independence and the power of needlessness ... The future of life became a sense of mission in him, and little by little the coldness and dryness of his behavior became a weapon against dangers, even against the numerous assassinations that have been committed against his life. Not only does he consider himself a creature who believes in delegated predestination, but he also feels that this predestination is in the shadow of divine protection. As a result, although Mohammad Reza Pahlavi has always had a strong practical aspect and a good approach to realities in his youth and life, he has also always allowed God and the saints to help him in any way he can. In recent years, the subject of his dreams and ideas has been very useful in his political life. After the false childhood experiences, which he calls "dreams, thoughts, fantasies" he no longer had dreams, and he had no hope for such dreams. [In the words of the King] Because I knew now that I had a connection after that comment, I knew there was a connection.

I asked that you felt safe!? He replied calmly and cheerfully: "Yes, I think so. I think." The only person who unequivocally believed his dreams was his mother ... and he says: Yes, he told me them and I was very happy to hear these things. I asked the King if his father ever feared that his son would suddenly intend toward the clergy; he was remarkably silent and then replied: I think finally yes. "She was scared."

Margaret Layng goes on to write that it seems that Reza Shah, to prevent his son from entering a space other than what he likes, hired a home teacher named Ms. Arfa, who was formerly a ballerina, to teach foreign languages. He adjusted his house and food plans, as he became accustomed to French foods, and instilled in him a European culture of living, and played an important role in his European upbringing. (Pp. 68-70)

Olivier Warren, a French interviewer who describes himself as an "experienced person in the meeting and interviewing ministers and heads of states," spoke with the King for several hours and several days during 1975-1976. Speaking to him, the King again mentioned the mystical aspect of his life, saying, "I believe in what I do, and that means I love what I do" (pp. 136, 137). Then, as usual, he breathed a sigh of relief from the existence of God in his life and called survival in the event of 3 February 1949 a miracle and said: "In this case, only the hand of God can be seen" (p. 139). He also emphasized that "I think that everything I have has been received from God" (p. 132).

The King then answered the interviewer's question about the origin of the acceptance and legitimacy of his monarchy. Warren asked, "Do they consider themselves as a king selected by God?" "That is, one who derives his power and law from God?" In response to his mystical connection with God, the King added that:  " I felt it. I have personally felt this divine justice mentioned in the constitution. Of course, he goes on to shamelessly answer the interviewer's next question. Warren asked, "Regardless of this legitimacy which is peculiar to the emperor, but the world is not compelled to believe it, on what basis do the emperors base the legitimacy of their dynasty?" Because in the end, it was a kind of coup that brought Reza Shah to power." The King replied arrogantly: "Yes, but this is what is said about all families. It is written in the constitution that the monarchy is a divine gift given to us by the nation ”(pp. 128-129) It was quite clear that is not a convincing answer for the interviewer and no one will accept it. In an interview with Olivier Warren, the King referred to the aforementioned memories and described how they came to be "inspirations, dreams, spiritual experiences." This led Warren, thinking that these issues were the result of specific religious teachings, to ask him: "What kind of religious education had the emperor received before?" Did the emperor have a special teacher?" The king replied no. But he mentioned that he used the religious words from his mother, family, and school education. Warren asked again: "When the King spoke to those around him about these manifestations, did they immediately believe?" the king said: "Some say yes." But I did not talk to my father. "I was afraid he would say something discouraging to me because he did not believe in such events and manifestations." (Pp. 33 and 34)

What can be deduced from the interviews is that the King's words were not acceptable to the interviewers, and with their knowledge of the King, they could not consider him a religious person and a recipient of such transcendental connections. It is worth mentioning that the King's famous face in the world was debauchery, and many articles about it were published in prominent European and American press. The published images of him sitting with women and having fun, further highlight this figure and emphasize that although he rules a land with Muslim inhabitants, he has no particular adherence to fundamental religious issues and at least does not care about maintaining his religious appearance as a Muslim king. Thus, the interviewers were surprised by the King's religious claims.

Another important point in these memoirs and interviews is whether he believed what he said. Did he consider himself chosen by God to rule over the people and give himself a right? Did he consider himself to have a divine mission and did he have a deep belief in it? Or was all this a show of demagoguery and pretense to provide a religious justification for his rule? As he has repeated these words over and over again, he has created a belief in these issues for himself and has a mission, an opinion, and a choice?! Wasn't all this a royal illusion? It seems that a deep understanding of the reasons for the protest and revolution of the people against the King can be a correct answer to these questions. Of course, it is worth mentioning that there are many illusory and imaginative manifestations in the writings and sayings of the King.


Pahlavi, Mohammad Reza, Mission for My Country, Tehran, 1976.

Fallaci, Oriana, Interviews, translated by Gholamreza Emami, Tehran, Barg Publications, 1998.

Layng, Margaret, Interview with the Shah, translated by Ardeshir Roshangar, Tehran, Alborz Publishing, second edition, 1992.

Warren, Olivier, The Lion and the Sun (Interview with the Shah), translated by Abdul Mohammad Ruhbakhshan, Tehran, Amirkabir Publication, 1977


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