Ashraf Pahlavi


A former Iranian princess The twin sister of the last Shah of Iran, Ashraf Pahlavi sought to modernise her country and championing the equality of women but had a taste for the high life - joined the jet set with gusto and took to the gaming tables. In 1965, Ashraf Pahlavi became chairwoman of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Two years later, she was the Iranian delegate to its Commission on Human Rights and, in 1970, became its chairwoman. As a United Nations delegate she pledged millions to the cause as well as to health and literacy in her own country. As part of her father's program to bring Iran into the 20th century, helped establish her public image: Western-oriented, modern, fashionably dressed, fluent in French and English, with a taste for the high life. In her opulent lifestyle she was also known for her luxury and acquisitiveness and an unashamed apologist for the increasing excesses of her brother's despotic regime. Her lifestyle was certainly the gossip of Tehran's middle-classes. Her twin brother was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and died in exile a year later. A glamorous and divisive figure, Princess Ashraf gained a reputation as a steely political operator and a mink-draped sybarite, well known at the casinos of the French Riviera, who amassed a considerable fortune during her brother's years in power and lived in luxurious exile after he was overthrown. Her first memoir was devoted in large part to defending herself and her brother's rule. Two more, in the same vein, followed: 'Jamais Résignée' ('Never Resigned'), published in 1981, and 'Time for Truth,' published in 1995. Ashraf ol-Molouk Pahlavi was born in Tehran two years before her father, Reza Shah Pahlavi, seized Tehran at the head of a Cossack brigade and overthrew the Qajar dynasty. He became shah in 1925. Ashraf Pahlavi feared for her safety. Though her residence was shrouded with secrecy, it was, however, reported that she passed away in Monte Carlo.

Compiler: M. Nauman Khan

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