Sunday, February 6, 2011

Was shah of Iran's son 'murdered' by regime on U.S. soil?

On Jan. 4, just after the New Year, the youngest son of the late shah of Iran, Alireza Pahlavi, was found dead in his Boston apartment, at the age of 44 his head blown off by a double-barrel shotgun – both chambers of which had discharged. Educated in Ivy League universities, and an artistic sort, Prince Alireza was a dashing heir to the Iranian monarchy after his elder brother, Reza Pahlavi, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area with his mother, Empress Farah, and his children.

To many, if not most, of the Iranians who fled Iran after the fall of the shah in the late '70s, and his subsequent death from cancer in exile, the royal family symbolizes a time when the nation held great promise. Iran was rich with oil revenues – and a well-educated population that was free to live life in religious freedom and without fear of the rapes, stonings, torture and executions at the hands of what now is a radical Islamic regime that enforces Shariah law. Prince Alireza epitomized the hope of a great civilization on the verge of throwing off the yoke of the barbaric mullahs who now terrorize their own people and Christians and Jews worldwide.

The news of Alireza's death spread like wildfire, and the Persian diaspora deeply mourned the passing of one of its hoped for future leaders. Years earlier, the prince's sister, Leila Pahlavi, had died in a London flat from what was said to be an overdose of barbiturates. The family has paid its price but always soldiered on, knowing what they symbolized to their own people.

Following news of Alireza's death, with lightening speed the Suffolk County district attorney quickly declared it a suicide, claiming that the prince was "depressed." But at the moving and beautiful memorial funeral for Alireza, which I attended with my "adopted" Persian family held in the Washington, D.C., area Sunday, Empress Farah, eloquently and lovingly, giving "her" eulogy for her fallen son, made it known that he was not depressed and indeed had every reason to live. As is true for Jews and Christians, it is a mortal sin for a sane and rational person of Muslim origin – even if not practicing, like Alireza – to take his own life.