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Reza Pahlavi of Iran

Reza Pahlavi (Persian: رضا پهلوی), (March 16, 1877-July 26, 1944), was Shah of Iran (Emperor of Iran) from December 15, 1925 to September 16, 1941.

On February 22, 1921, Reza Khan-e Mir-Panj (Persian: رضا خان میرپنج), as was then his name, staged a coup d'état. He was a military commander who had risen from the ranks to command the Cossack Division and Ministry of War. His rule was formalized when he was proclaimed Shah by the Iranian Assembly on December 12, 1925. He took his imperial oath on December 15, 1941 and so became the first Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty.

Shah Reza Pahlavi

Out of his marriage with Taj al Molouk (1896 - 1980) his son and successor Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran was born.

In 1922 Reza Khan married a third time to Turan (Qamar al Molouk) Amir Soleimani (1904-1995). From this marriage a son was born (Gholam Reza), and Reza Khan divorced her soon after, in 1923.

Marching his troops from Qazvin, 150 kilometres to the west of Teheran, General Reza Khan seized key parts of the capital almost without opposition and forced the government to resign. His first post was as army commander, which he later combined with the post of Minister of War, taking at the same time the title Sardar Sepah. Until 1923 there were civilian prime ministers, but the future monarch soon increased his powers. In 1923 he became Prime Minister, and soon afterwards the last Shah of the Qajar Dynasty, Ahmad Mirza Qajar was deposed and left for Europe. On December 12, 1925, the Majlis, convening as a constituent assembly, voted to Crown Pahlavi as its Shah.

On April 25, 1926, a new era began when Pahlavi placed the Imperial Iranian Crown on his own head. At the same time, Mohammad Reza was proclaimed Crown Prince.

Under Reza Shah's 16 years rule the roads and Trans-Iranian Railway were built, modern education was introduced and the University of Tehran was established, and for the first time systematically dispatch of Iranian students to Europe was started. Industrialization of country was stepped-up, and achievements were great, but by the mid 1930s Reza Shah's dictatorial style of rule caused dissatisfaction in Iran.

Concerned that Reza Pahlavi was about to align his petroleum-rich country with Germany during World War II, the United Kingdom and the USSR occupied Iran and forced him to resign in favor of his son.

He went in exile, first to Mauritius, then to Johannesburg, where he died in 1944.

The grandson of Reza Pahlavi, son of Mohammad, is also called Reza Pahlavi (born October 31, 1960). He is claimant to the Iranian throne.

In 1978, the then Crown Prince of Iran left his homeland and completed his higher education in the United States. He is an accomplished jet fighter pilot and a political science graduate of the University of Southern California.

Reza Pahlavi has lived in Morocco, Egypt and, since 1984, the United States. With his wife, Yasmine Etemad Amini and two daughters, Noor (April 3, 1992) and Iman (September 12, 1993), they live in Maryland.