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Mysterious mummy found in Iran could be ex-king, father of Shah



BY JON GAMBRELL | The Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Construction workers in Iran have discovered the mummified remains of Reza Shah Pahlavi, the country's last monarch's father, almost four decades after the fall of the Islamic Revolution.

The recent discovery of the gauze-wrapped body has sparked intense speculation and revived discussions of Iran's dynastic past, which the clerical government has been trying to suppress for decades. A mob destroyed Reza Shah's grave shortly after the 1

979 revolution, and the family lives in exile.

The monarchy's widespread abuses fueled the revolution, but its myth continues as Iran fights economic problems and demands reforms before the 40th anniversary of the uprising.

Reza Shah's grandson, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi of the United States, has tweeted that he believes his grandfather's remains are as Iran waits for forensic experts to find out whose corpse they found

mummified remains during a project in the Shiite shrine of Abdul Azim, whose minarets rise behind the site where once stood Reza Shah's mausoleum. An excavator carrying dirt and debris bared the body, according to the semi-official news agency ISNA.

Images of the body, as well as a man posing with it, quickly rebounded on social media in Iran.
A speaker of the shrine rejected the idea of ​​a mummy found there. Hassan Khalilabadi, head of the Culture and Tourism Committee of the Tehran City Council, was quoted on Monday by the state news agency IRNA because it is "possible" that the mummy is the body of Reza Shah.

The authorities say that I have to do DNA tests to confirm whose body it is.

State television still has to report on the find, probably due to limitations in the discussion about the Pahlavis.

State media typically refer to the Persian dynasties, including the Pahlavis, as "despotic", focusing on the abuses of the SAVAK intelligence service of the monarchs and their lavish lifestyle.

Reza Shah's own rise brought forth modern Iran, which was still called Persia, until he ordered foreign diplomats to stop using the name. He came to power in 1925 and ruled as an absolute autocrat, using taxes and growing oil revenues to rapidly modernize the nation.

His decisions are repeated today, especially his decree issued in 1936 prohibiting women from wearing long, flowing black robes chador. He ordered the men to wear Western clothing and take their women to public events with their hair bared, borrowing from the secularization of the Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a contemporary.

The ban became humiliating for some religious Muslim women. Shiite clerics, angered by their secular beliefs, purges and mass arrests of opponents, displayed resentment that would fuel the impending revolution.

The controversy over the chador and hijab exists today in Iran.

Iran's strong trade relations with Germany, Reza Shah's quest for neutrality in the Second World War, and Western fears over his oil deliveries to the Nazis finally sparked a Russian-British invasion of the country in 1941. Reza Shah abdicated on behalf of the government in favor of his son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

Reza Shah died in 1944 in South Africa. His body was taken to Cairo, mummified and stayed there for years before being transferred to Iran. It was located in a large mausoleum near Tehran, which was visited by then-President Richard Nixon in 1972.

After 1979, however, Islamists viewed the mausoleum as an affront.

Iranian cleric Ayatollah Sadegh Khalkhali ordered the execution of hundreds after the revolution, led a pack of supporters using sledgehammers, jackhammers, and other tools to destroy the mausoleum.


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