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the foundation of political philosophy in Iran-constitutional period

The foundation of political philosophy in Iran-constitutional period


Iranian Contemporary History No. 60


History Hall


  Ashraf Pahlavi

Mehdi Jangravi


Some five hours after the birth of his brother, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Ashraf Pahlavi was born in Sanglaj neighborhood in Tehran October, 26th 1911.  At the time of her birth, her father was an unknown colonel in Cossack brigade. Her mother, Taj-ol-moluk Airemlu was of an Azerbaijani family who immigrated to Iran after the Bolshevik revolution of Russia.


In her seventeen, she married Ibrahim Khan Shirazi's son, Ali Mohammad Qavam. Their marriage took place for political reasons and was void of any emotional grounds. She remembers her marriage bitterly and says: "I wore white wedding dress in a marriage ceremony which was held for Shams and me, while it was better for me to wear a black dress." However the marriage did not last for more than six years and they divorced formally in 1322, Shahram being the only child of this marriage who took Pahlavi nia as his family name.


Subsequently Ashraf Pahlavi made a visit  to Egypt and got acquainted with an Egyptian merchant, Ahmad Shafiq, son of Shafiq Pasha, head of Khadiv Abbas Helmi's bureau, who was exiled to Europe when Malek Fowad came to throne. They married in 1322. This marriage did not escape the same fate. They separated in 1329, some nine years before formal divorce. Ahmad Shafiq died in 1355 because of cancer. Their children Shahriar and Azadeh chose Shafiq as their family name.


Her third husband was Mehdi Bushehri, whose father was of influential families of Bushire. He was a roving ambassador, and chairman of board of art Festivals. In late Pahlavis, he founded the organization for expanding cinema and produced some joint feature films, presenting some famous actors of the world.


No woman played so much roles as Ashraf did in domestic and foreign affairs. She played a leading role in 19th August 1953 coup, and entered negotiations with hostile countries. She was a main figure in establishing political relationship with the People's Republic of China. From 1950, she was one of leading members of Iranian legation in the United Nations.


One of her plans was to found a political base for his brother through manipulating the press. To do so, she founded Ettelaat newspaper.


She was at the top of the pyramid for political decision makings. Moreover, she meddled in the private life of his brother so far as to cause division between Shah and his wife. Mohammad Reza Shah could not resist her authority.


Some people referred to her as "Reza Shah's black duck" A French journalist called her "black panther" which appealed to her. Alberto Belicci has referred to her as matrix of corruption with extreme sadism which made her angry.

Ashraf Pahlavi

from right Ashraf, Shams, Reza Khan and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1922)

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Reza Shah and Ashraf Pahlavi in exile in Johannesburg

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Ashraf Pahlavi

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Mohammad Reza and Ashraf Pahlavi

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Ashraf Pahlavi with her dog in the garden of a royal palace

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Ashraf Pahlavi and Ali Mohammad Qavam in their wedding day

Ashraf Pahlavi in her travel to Egypt, with the Egyptian royal family members: 1. Ashraf Pahlavi, 2. Malek Faruq (king of Egypt), 3. Fuzieh's sister, Faezeh, 4. Mohammad Reza Shah's first wife, Fuzieh.

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Ashraf Pahlavi and her second husband, Ahmad Shafiq

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Ashraf Pahlavi accompanied by the prime minister, Ahmad Qavam and some other cabinet members in a ceremony: 1. Ashraf Pahlavi, 2. Ahmad Qavam, 3. Manucher Eqbal, 4. Shams-ad-din Amir Alayi, 5. Ahmad AmirAhmadi, 6. Roqayyeh Qaraghuzlu (Nasser-al-molk's wife), 7. Fazlollah Zahedi, 8. Sahamaddin Qaffari (Zoka-ol-dowleh), 9. Mohammad Ali Homayunjah

[AA 11-1346]
Ali Asghar Hekmat, divining Ashraf's future by consulting Hafiz's collected works over the poet's tomb (1948) 1. Ahmad Shafiq, 2. Ashraf Pahlavi, 3. Ali Asghar Hekmat

[A 554-104]
Ashraf Pahlavi and her third husband, Mehdi Bushehri visiting Persepolice: 1. Ashraf Pahlavi, 2. Mehdi Bushehri, 3. Javad Ashtiani, 4. Fereidun Tavalloli (poet), 5. Karim Varahram

[A 554-179]
Ashraf Pahlavi with the prime minister, Cho En Lai in her visit to China.

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Ashraf Pahlavi in her visit to Russia and meeting with the head of administrative body, Leonid Brezhnev: 1. Tahmures Adamiyat (Iranian ambasador to Russia), 2. Ashraf Pahlavi, 3. Leonid Brezhnev, 4. Ali Izadi

[AA 11-162]
Mohammad Reza and Farah Pahlavi in company of the queen of England in an formal reception of the British Embassy in Tehran from right to left: Prince Philip (the queen's Husband), Ashraf Pahlavi, Mehrdad Pahlbod, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Elizabeth II, and Farah Pahlavi

[A 554-92]
Ashraf Pahlavi in her visit to Russia, and meeting the prime minister, Nikita Khrushchev; 1. Shahriar Shafiq, 2. Nikita Khruschev, 3. Ashraf Pahlavi, 4. Mehdi Bushehri, 5. Tahmures Adamiyat

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Ashraf Pahlavi meeting with UN general secretary, Court Waildhaim

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Ashraf Pahlavi in her visit to Uganda and meeting with the president Idi Amin

[A 554-209]
American actor, Yule Brayner, behind the scene of a feature film in Isfahan in company of Ashraf and Shahnaz Pahlavi; 1. Ibrahim Parsa (governor general of Isfahan, 2. Javad Massudi, 3. Yule Brayner, 4. Ali Izadi, 5. Leili Jahanara (AmirArjomand), 6. Ashraf Pahlavi, 7. Nosrattollah Kassemi, 8. Shahnaz Pahlavi, 9. Shahriar Shafiq

[AA 11-5737]
Ashraf Pahlavi, head of royal organization of social welfare and the members of its board of trustees in their meeting with Mohammad Reza Pahlavi; 1. Abdollah Riazi, 2. Jafar Sharif Imami, 3. Jamshid Amuzegar, 4. Ashraf Pahlavi, 5. Manuchehr Eqbal, 6. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, 7. Alinaqi Alikhani, 8. Hadi Hedayati, 9. Manucher Shahqoli, 10. Javad Ashtiani, 11. Mohammad Safi Asfia, 12. Mostafa Mesbahzadeh, 13. Yusef Khoshkish, 14. Nosrattollah Kassemi, 15. Taher Ziaee

[A 554-28]
Ashraf Pahlavi and Assaollah Alam

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Karim Pash Bahadori (head of Farah's bureau)

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Ashraf Pahlavi, Chairwoman of Human Rights Conference in Tehran

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Ashraf Pahlavi, granting "Charity Cup" to Mahmud Lajevardi

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Ashraf Pahlavi

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