Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran

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Reza Pahlavi
Crown Prince of Iran
Reza Pahlavi by Gage Skidmore.jpg
During an event in Tempe, Arizona in 2015
Head of the House of Pahlavi
Tenure 27 July 1980 – present
Predecessor Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Heir presumptive Patrick Ali Pahlavi
Crown Prince of Iran
Term 26 October 1967 – 11 February 1979
Predecessor Vacant (last held by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi)
Successor Monarchy abolished
Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Born (1960-10-31) 31 October 1960 (age 56)
Tehran, Iran
Spouse Yasmine Pahlavi
Issue Princess Noor
Princess Iman
Princess Farah
Full name
English: Reza Pahlavi
Persian: رضا پهلوی‎‎
House House of Pahlavi
Father Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mother Farah Pahlavi
Religion Shia Islam

Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran (Persian: رضا پهلوی‎‎; born 31 October 1960) is the last heir apparent to the defunct throne of the Imperial State of Iran and is the current head of the House of Pahlavi. He is the older son of the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi. A resident of the United States, he is the heir to the former Persian throne.

Reza Pahlavi is the founder and leader of National Council of Iran, a government in exile of Iran. As Crown Prince of Iran, Reza Pahlavi left Iran at the age of 17 for air force training at Reese Air Force Base near Lubbock, Texas,[1] two years before the Iranian Revolution.

In 2011, Reza Pahlavi was named Iran's Person Of The Year by an online poll conducted by Radio Farda that included thousands of Iranian respondents inside and outside Iran.[2] In November 2014, Reza Pahlavi founded his own television and radio network called OfoghIran.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Reza Pahlavi in 1973 as Crown Prince of Iran

Reza Pahlavi was born in Tehran, Iran, the eldest legitimate son of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran and Farah Pahlavi, the Shahbanu of Iran. Reza Pahlavi's siblings include his sister Princess Farahnaz Pahlavi (born 12 March 1963), brother Prince Ali-Reza Pahlavi (28 April 1966 – 4 January 2011), and sister Princess Leila Pahlavi (27 March 1970 – 10 June 2001), as well as a half-sister, Princess Shahnaz Pahlavi (born 27 October 1941).

Accepted into the Imperial Iranian Air Force as a junior officer following secondary schooling, he left Iran in 1977 at the age of 17 for air force flight training in the United States.[citation needed] He spent a year at Williams College in the United States, but was forced to leave because of the turmoil in Iran.[citation needed] With the monarchy overthrown and an Islamic Republic established, Reza Pahlavi did not return to Iran.

He obtained a BSc degree in political science by correspondence from the University of Southern California, because Williams did not offer that option.[citation needed]

The Crown Prince successfully completed the United States Air Force's Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) Program at the former Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas. Shortly thereafter, at the start of the Iran–Iraq War, Reza Pahlavi, wrote to General Valiollah Fallahi, Chief Commander of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic, offering to fly and fight as a pilot for the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force. His offer was rebuffed.[4]

On the death of his father on 27 July 1980, Reza Pahlavi became the Head of the House of Pahlavi.


Iranian Imperial Family
Imperial Coat of Arms of Iran.svg

HIM Empress Farah

  • HIH Prince Patrick Ali
    HIH Princess Sounja
    • HIH Prince Davoud
      • HIH Princess Solvène
      • HIH Princess Elsa
    • HIH Prince Houd
      • HIH Prince Rafaël
    • HIH Prince Mohammad Yunes

Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi sworn in as Head of the House of Pahlavi in 1980 at Koubbeh Palace, Cairo.
Crown Prince Reza with the Persian Community in the Netherlands, May 2012

According to Afshin Ellian, an Iranian-born philosopher of law and expert in international law, "in Iran, there are two names known to virtually all, even in the most remote villages. The first name is Khamenei and the second one is Reza Pahlavi."[5]

Following in a line of Persian dynasties stretching back 3,000 years, the Pahlavi dynasty was founded early in the twentieth century. The 1979 revolution replaced the monarchy with an Islamic republic. After the death of his father, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, he symbolically declared himself Shāhanshāh (literally King of Kings in Persian) at the age of 21.[6] He remains crown prince according to the former Constitution of 1906, as he is required to take the oath in the Iranian Parliament first.[7] His press releases refer to him as either "Reza Pahlavi" or "the former Crown Prince of Iran".[citation needed]

On his website, Reza Pahlavi has said that the state of Iran should become democratic and secular, and human rights should be respected. Whether the form of government would be that of a constitutional monarchy or a republic is something that he would like to leave up to the people of Iran.[8][9]

Reza Pahlavi II has used his high profile as an Iranian abroad to campaign for human rights, democracy and unity among Iranians in and outside Iran.[10] On his website he calls for a separation of religion and state in Iran and for free and fair elections "for all freedom-loving individuals and political ideologies". He exhorts all groups dedicated to a democratic agenda to work together for a democratic and secular Iranian government.[11]

According to Reza Bayegan, Reza Pahlavi believes in the separation of religion from politics. However, he avoids the "Islam bashing" that Bayegan writes occurs in some circles of the Iranian opposition. Rather, he believes that religion has a humanizing and ethical role in shaping individual character and infusing society with greater purpose.[12]

In February 2011, after violence erupted in Tehran, Reza Pahlavi II said that Iran's youth were determined to get rid of an authoritarian government tainted by corruption and misrule in the hope of installing a democracy. "Fundamental and necessary change is long overdue for our region and we have a whole generation of young Egyptians and Iranians not willing to take no for an answer", he told The Daily Telegraph. "Democratisation is now an imperative that cannot be denied. It is only a matter of time before the whole region can transform itself."[13]


Reza Pahlavi II is first in the line of succession to his late father, while his younger brother Ali-Reza Pahlavi II was second in line until his death in January 2011. His first cousin Prince Patrick Ali Pahlavi is now next in line to the throne.

Alleged foreign support[edit]

According to John Stanton, Reza Pahlavi garners political support and funding from the U.S. government-sponsored media such as Radio Farda.[14]

In 2006, Connie Bruck of The New Yorker wrote that Reza Pahlavi received funding from Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1980s but it ended after the Iran-Contra scandal. Bruck adds that Pahlavi has successfully asked for funds from Emir of Kuwait, Emir of Bahrain, King of Morocco and Saudi Royal Family.[15]

Commenting on the alleged U.S. government aids, in an interview with The New York Times, Pahlavi said "No, no. I don’t rely on any sources other than my own compatriots." He has also denied working with CIA, calling allegations "absolutely and unequivocally false".[16]

Personal life[edit]


Reza married Yasmine Etemad-Amini on 12 June 1986. Yasmine, a graduate of the George Washington University School of Law, worked for ten years as a lawyer for the Children’s Law Center as a legal advocate for at-risk youth. Yasmine also founded the Foundation for the Children of Iran in 1991, a non-profit foundation that provides health care services to Iranian children or children of Iranian origin.

In 2004, Reza Pahlavi was named as the "unofficial godfather"[17] of Princess Louise of Belgium, the eighth granddaughter of King Albert II of Belgium. The decision to choose him was criticized by the Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Religious beliefs[edit]

When interviewed about religion, Pahlavi said, "That's a private matter; but if you must know, I am, of course, by education and by conviction, a Shia Muslim. I am very much a man of faith."[16] Iranian writer Reza Bayegan also notes that Crown Prince Reza is deeply attached to his Shi'a Muslim faith. He has performed the Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca.[12]

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

Styles of
Crown Prince Reza of Iran
Imperial Arms of the Crown Prince of Iran.svg
Reference style His Imperial Highness
Spoken style Your Imperial Highness
Alternative style Sir
Standard of the Crown Prince

Titles and styles[edit]

  • His Imperial Highness The Crown Prince of Iran (1960–1979)
  • His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Reza of Iran (1979–present)
  • Commoner name: Reza Pahlavi (1979–present)


National honours[edit]

  • Order of Pahlavi (Iran).gif Grand Collar of the Order of Pahlavi (26 September 1967, Iran)
  • Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Investiture Medal 1967.gif Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi Coronation Medal (26 October 1967, Iran)
  • 25th Anniversary Medal 1971.gif 25th Centennial Anniversary Medal (14 October 1971, Iran)
  • 2500th Anniversary of the Persian Empire Medal 1971.gif Persepolis Medal (15 October 1971, Iran)

Foreign honours[edit]


Business and legal issues[edit]

Reza Pahlavi is the owner of Medina Development Company. He and his company were engaged in a civil lawsuit against a family member in the 1990s culminating in a favorable judgment in May 1997.[24]



  1. ^ [1]. Retrieved on 2 January 2013.
  2. ^ RFE/RL (22 March 2012). "Farda Audience Picks Late Shah's Son As Iran's Person Of The Year". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ An Interview with Reza Pahlavi. February 2002. Retrieved on 9 June 2012.
  5. ^
  6. ^ 'It is my duty' 24 September 2010
  7. ^ Iran's 1906 Constitution and Its Supplement, Rights of Members of the Assembly
  8. ^ April 2011 Q&A, Question 4
  9. ^ December Q&A, Question 7
  10. ^ Prinz Reza Pahlavi über den Iran: "Dieses Regime ist äußerst anti-religiös". (interview with Reza Pahlavi, in German) (31 March 2010). Retrieved on 9 June 2012.
  11. ^ Reza Pahlavi. The Challenge Of Implementing Democracy And Human Rights In Iran. The International Society Of Human Rights – Bonn, Germany, 27 March 2010.
  12. ^ a b Reza Bayegan. "Reza Pahlavi and the Question of Religion". Payvand. 
  13. ^ Iran's Crown Prince calls on West to support anti-government protests. Telegraph. 16 February 2011. Retrieved on 9 June 2012.
  14. ^ John Stanton (22 April 2003). "Iran's Reza Pahlavi: A Puppet of the USA and Israel?". Centre for Research on Globalisation. 
  15. ^ Connie Bruck (6 March 2006). "Exiles: How Iran's Expatriates are Gaming the Nuclear Threat". The New Yorker. p. 48. 
  16. ^ a b Soloman, Deborah (26 June 2009). "The Exile". The New York Times Magazine. 
  17. ^ The Roman Catholic Church, the Church of the child being baptized, does not accept non-Catholics as godparents, given the religious nature of the role, so Pahlavi's role was downgraded to unofficial, not formal.
  18. ^ "PALHAVI S.A.I. Abdolreza, Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana" (in Italian). Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  19. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado
  20. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 458. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  21. ^ Guidance for Honours in the De Jure Kingdom of Rwanda
  22. ^ IRAN l'heure du choix. ISBN 2207261034. Retrieved on 9 June 2012.
  23. ^ Reza Pahlavi´s Web site. Retrieved on 9 June 2012.
  24. ^ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. Claude M. Hilton, District Judge. (CA-95-1423-A, BK-93-11245). (1997)

External links[edit]

Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran
Born: 31 October 1960
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Shahanshah of Iran
Light of the Aryans

27 July 1980 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Monarchy abolished in 1979
Patrick Ali Pahlavi
Regnal titles
Title last held by
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Crown Prince of Iran
26 October 1967 – 11 February 1979