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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


  Shams Pahlavi

Ebrahim Hadidi


The elder daughter of Reza Shah by his second wife Taj-ol-Moluk, Shams Pahlavi was born in Tehran, 28th, Oct. 1917. There is not much information about her childhood and adolescence but the memoirs of Ashraf Pahlavi shows that unlike her sister, she was not interested in politics and spent her time mostly on her personal affairs and interests and felt more comfortable in the role of a traditional housewife. She accepted the presidency of the Red Sun and Lion society only to keep her public prestige. She also presided over the Iranian Women's Circle which was formed by Reza Shah to encourage the removal of veils.


In 1936, Reza Shah Pahlavi decided to have her daughters married. Among many suitors, Ali Mohammad Qavam (son of Ebrahim Qavam-ol-Molk Shirazi) and Fereidun Jam (son of the prime minister, Mahmud Jam) were chosen for Shams and Ashraf respectively. However, Shams preferred Fereidun Jam and the grooms were changed.


Subsequent to the departure of Reza Shah from Iran, Shams expressed her dissatisfaction with her marriage and without official divorce embarked on an independent life. Later on she made relationship to Ezzatollah Minbashian (her music teacher). She got divorced in 1944 and married to Minbashian the next year.


Minbashian who changed his name to Mehrdad Pahlbod was a violinist and due to the dissatisfaction of the Shah, he was banished from the court. Eventually through intermediation of the queen mother, he was appointed the minister of culture and the director of the department general of fine arts. Then he was appointed minister of culture and arts in HassanAli Mansur's cabinet and held the office till the rise of the Islamic Revolution.


Shams Pahlavi converted into Christianity in 1970s and founded a private church at her palace in Mehrshahr. Her husband and children adopted Catholicism after her. She went to Italy and Vatican many times and paid visits to the Christian leaders of the world. She did not involve herself in commercial affairs, though she held huge shares in various domestic and foreign foundations, firms and institutions which were managed by Habib Sabet (a famous Bahai leader). She had large properties in MehrShahr and the east of Tehran.


Eventually she died in her 78 years in 1995 and was buried according to the Christian rites. She left behind two sons Shahbaz (born in 1946) and Shahyar (born in 1949) and a daughter Shahrazad (born in 1942).

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From right: Ashraf Pahlavi, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and Shams Pahlavi

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Shams Pahlavi in Girls Guides uniform

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Wedding party of Shams Pahalvi and Fereidun Jam (the note at the bottom of the photo: in memory of March 3rd, 1926, dedicated to Lady Jam, Shams)

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From right: Shams Pahlavi, Ashraf Pahlavi and Ali Mohammad Qavam in 1940

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From right: Fereidun Jam. Shams Pahlavi, Behjat (Moshar), and Ali Izadi, accompanying Reza Shah on his exile to Mauritius

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Shams Pahlavi and her dogs

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From the right: 1. Ali Izadi, 3. Mehrdad Pahlbod, 5. Shams Pahlavi, who accompanied Reza Shah to Johannesburg

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Shams Pahlavi and the special nurse for monkies

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Shams Pahlavi and Mehrdad Pahlbod paying a visit to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi before their marriage contract, from the right: Mehrdad Pahlbod, Turan Amir Soleimani, Shams Pahlavi, Taj-ol-Moluk Pahlavi and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi

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Mehrdad Pahlbod and Shams Pahlavi (note at the bottom of the photo: dedicated to my dear aunt Fakhr-ol-Moluk, Shams)

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Annual anniversary of the Iranian Women's Society (June 1948) 1. Lady Jam, 2. Mahmud Jam, 3. Shams Pahlavi, 4. Shahnaz Pahlavi

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Shams Pahlavi and Mehrdad Pahlbod's visit to Vatican, from right: 3. Mehrdad Pahlbod. 4. Shams Pahlavi

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Shams Pahlavi

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Meeting of the central board of the Iranian Red Sun and Lion Society presided by Shams Pahlavi (May 27th, 1974), 1. Shams Pahlavi, 2. Farideh Diba, 3. Jamshid Amuzegar, 4. Mohammad Razi Vishkaki, 5. Hossein Khatibi, 6. Mehrdad Pahlbod

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Shams Pahlavi in Jordan: 1. Malek Hossein (King of Jordan) 2. Shams Pahlavi

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Shams Pahlavi's visit to Majidieh brewery firm: 1. Farideh Diba, 2. Shams Pahlavi, 3. Shahrazad Pahlbod, 4. Qodsieh Arjomand (Massudi), 5. Abbas Massudi

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Wedding party of Shahrazad Pahlbod and Havard Baris (a British subject), from the right: Sharazad Pahlbod, AbdorReza Pahlabvi, Havard Baris Shams Pahlavi, Taj-ol-Moluk Pahlavi, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Farah Pahlavi

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Sharazad Pahlbod and her husband, Havard Baris and some of their relatives in a party, from the right: Shahyar Pahlbod, Mehrdad Pahlbod, Beatrice Yank (Shahbaz's wife) Shahbaz Pahlbod, Shams Pahlavi, Havard Baris, Sharazad Pahlbod, Taj-ol-Moluk Pahlavi, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Farah Pahlavi, Havard Baris's mother, and his father

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1. Mehrdad Pahlbod, 2. Mohammad Zaher Shah (king of Afghanistan), 3. Shams Pahlavi, 4. Fuzieh

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From right: Mehrdad Pahlbod, Shams Pahlavi, Farah Pahlavi, Malek Hossein (king of Jordan), Caramanlis' wife, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Malek Hossein's wife, Constanlis, Caramanlis (king of Greece), AbdorReza Pahlavi, Pari Sima Zand, and Shahrazad Pahlbod

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Mehrdad Pahlbod, minister of culture and arts

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