Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, Twin Sister of Iran’s Last Shah, Dies

Princess Ashraf PahlaviPrincess Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of Iran’s late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Europe on Thursday. She was 96.

The announcement of her passing was posted to the Facebook page of the Shah’s son Reza Pahlavi. In his post, Reza described his aunt as having a heart full of love for Iran and being devoted to improving the social life of its citizens and specifically the advancement of women’s rights and the fight against illiteracy.

هفدهم دی ماه ۱۳۹۴از درگذشت عمه عزیزم، شاهدخت اشرف پهلوی، بسیار متاثر و متالم شدم. خاطرات بسیاری از دوران کودکی تا به ا…

Posted by The Official Site of Reza Pahlavi on Thursday, 7 January 2016

Ashraf’s book Faces in a Mirror was her personal account of how the 1979 revolution destroyed the lives of her fellow countrymen and women following its takeover by the radical theocratic regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. She wrote the book in exile.

In addition to being a champion for women’s rights, Ashraf was credited with establishing Iran’s relationship with China and for serving as the head of the Iranian delegation to the United Nations for more than a decade.

Robert F. Armao, who has served as a senior advisor to the princess for almost 40 years, described her to the New York Times as “a very strong personality and a very strong feminist.” Armao is in the process of writing a book about the royal Pahlavi family.

To her supporters, the princess will be celebrated as a champion of women’s rights and an accomplished diplomat. However, her critics will continue to, by some accounts falsely, press her image as a power monger who played a pivotal role in the 1953 “military coup” that overthrew Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh over fears he was veering in favor of the Soviet Union and for nationalizing the nation’s oil.

The historical accuracy of the 1953 ousting of Mosaddegh having been a coup is questionable considering the Persian constitution stated that the Shah had the power to appoint and dismiss ministers. Oxford defines “coup” as “a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.”

“Ashraf became the focal point, especially by many people on the left, of everything that was wrong and was made out to be some sort of maniacal witch,” Dr. Behzad Tabatabaei told Breitbart News. Dr. Tabatabaei, who is an Iran expert and an international business and political economist, explained that this was a far cry from the truth. “I’m not saying she was a saint by any measure. But she certainly was not the monster that people on the left or the religious zealotry have tried to portray her as. She was the sister of the Shah and had a lot of influence as a consequence of being part of the royal family.”

Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University Hamid Dabashi published a piece in Al Jazeera upon hearing of Ashraf’s passing in which he provides his personal perspective on where the ultimate fate of Ashraf’s image will rest.

As a princess, that is where Ashraf Pahlavi is headed: towards the pantheon of a nation’s collective memory, right next to Rudabeh, Farangis, Tahmineh, Gordafarid, or perhaps most appropriately Sudabeh. None of those characters are flat or banal – all are bold and multidimensional.

In Princess Ashraf’s death there is also a moral lesson for the ruling clergy in Iran or for the ruling dynasties anywhere else in the world.

No royal or presidential historian, no official obituary or hostile detractor will ever match the gentle creativity of a nation’s soul that plays with the soft clay of their rulers’ memory to fit them right where they belong – where they can humbly give back to their nation the best they had in them and then take back to their maker the worst of which they were capable.

Ashraf was born on October 26, 1919 to the late monarch Reza Shah. She is survived by her son, Prince Chahram Pahlavi, five grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. Her daughter Azadeh Shafiq Pahlavi passed away in 2011. Ashraf’s other son, Shahriar Shafiq Pahlavi, was assassinated on a Paris street in 1979 by agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Shahriar’s death haunted her until the final days of her life.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

[NOTE: This post was originally written for Breitbart News and has been reposted on Adelle’s personal blog.]

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Weathering The Impending Storm

“The Great Storm of 2012” as I’m calling it, could not have arrived at a more turbulent time in our nation’s history. What happens during the next seven days will forever impact the course of history for both America and the world as we know it. My thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been and still are in Hurricane Sandy’s way and hope they will be kept safe from harm and shielded from sorrow. Choose wisely in the days that lie ahead and consider the importance of a trans-Atlantic relationship and unity in our increasingly global society. The leader of the “Free World” should serve as a beacon of light and justice unto other nations and bridge the gap (not divide or detach) between the world’s democracies, particularly with regard to our greatest ally in the Middle East. The choice is ours to make and the consequences of our actions will be felt for generations to come. Choose wisely.

Peace in the Middle East? Arian the Enabler

If there’s anyone who can help in the journey towards achieving a more peaceful atmosphere in the Middle East, then perhaps it is Arian Lev.

Nicknamed “The Laser,” Arian is able to read a person’s mind and reveal their inner situation. By channeling peoples’ emotions she is able to see both the physical and emotional barriers that inhibit someone from realizing their full potential.

Arian, is well known in the Israeli media and has worked with thou

Arian Lev with Israeli student Gal Oren

sands of people from all over the globe (including clients from Europe, the United States and Canada). She’s delivered messages to Madonna, Britney Spears and more recently to Oprah Winfrey. The crux of her focus, however, has been on the Middle East with Israeli-Arab patients, Palestinian Arabs, Iranians and individuals from Saudi Arabia.

Arian also speaks Hebrew and Arabic fluently. She has already helped with the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories through use of her rare and unique method. She believes each individual person is where change must begin.

Personal testimonies from students who have graduated from her course reveal a wholesome and positive outlook in a place where negativity and hatred once lived.

Arian Lev with recent graduate and Palestinian student Moris

Arian’s ability to open peoples’ hearts has allowed for individuals from both sides of the fence to realize where their negative beliefs and hatred stems from and nurses them through reprogramming this way of thinking to a more positive and peace-loving outlook.

In certain places where the air was once so thick with the poisonous smells of war and fear, the scents of fresh kebabs and childrens’ laughter have taken it’s place, thanks to Arian.

“Every client is a whole world, from my point of view and I will do everything to enable him to live his life to the fullest,” she says. Arian is an enabler of good and although she has her work cut out for her, she’s already left her mark in that region and her span will continue to be extended throughout the Arab world in the hopes that a more peaceful way of life can ensue there.