The second volume of Ardeshir Zahedi’s memoirs covers the years 1955 to 1966. During that period, his father passes away, he falls in love and marries the Shah's daughter, Shahnaz. He is appointed ambassador to the United Kingdom and learns the interactions of British civil and court politics. He is then appointed ambassador to the United States where he becomes acquainted, among others, with President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon and the Kennedy brothers. He also experiences the student opposition to the Shah in the United States.
He describes his and Princess Shahnaz’s involvement in the process of selecting a suitable wife for the Shah, who had recently separated from Queen Soraya, who could not bear an heir.
- Foreword to Volume Two
- Introduction and Acknowledgements
- Memories of the Visit to India, Pakistan, Turkey and the Soviet Union
- Love and Marriage
- Coup D’état in Baghdad
- The Fabricated Story of the Ordubadi Coup D’état
- Finding a Wife for the Shah
- Mission in Washington
- Mission in London
- My Father’s Death and Separation from Princess Shahnaz
- The 1965 Attempt on the Shah
- Anglo-Iranian Relations
For three decades ARDESHIR ZAHEDI played one of the most significant roles in the political history of modern Iran. As a trusted adviser, confidant, son-in-law, and friend, he played an influential role in the life of the last Shah from 1953 until the king’s death in Egypt in 1980. As a diplomat, he twice served as ambassador to the United States, ambassador to the Court of St. James and for seven years as foreign minister of Iran. He has known and worked with seven U.S. presidents. In the early fifties, he was witness and principal aide to his father in the tumultuous rise and fall of Mohammad Mossadegh and the appointment of his father as prime minister.
This volume reveals, with honesty and detail, the intimate life of Iranian political society and the imperial court. It recounts in detail the background and events of the summer of 1953 that led to the fall of Mossadegh and the coming to power of Fazlollah Zahedi, the author’s father. Also included in the book are previously unpublished documents that shine a new light on the events.
Ardeshir was born in 1928. He is a descendant of two families that have shaped the history of Iran. His father, Fazlollah Zahedi (1897–1963), served as prime minister and was an important political and military figure of the Pahlavi period. His mother’s father, Hossein Pirnia Motamen ol-Molk, served as the first prime minister of Iran after the establishment of the constitution in the early twentieth century.
During World War II, when Ardeshir was twelve, his father, who was the commander of the Isfahan military division, was arrested by the British and imprisoned in Palestine. After the war Ardeshir ventured abroad to study in Beirut and the United States. He returned to Iran to play an important role in the political life of his country alongside his father and the Shah, Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi. A few years later, he and Princess Shahnaz, the Shah’s first child, fell in love and were married. The narrative of the courtship and marriage, which sadly lasted only seven years, is recounted in the next volume of his memoirs.
In 1968, as foreign minister, on behalf of Iran he signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In 1977, while ambassador to the United States, he helped negotiate and free 149 hostages held by Hanafi Muslims at the B’nai B’rith headquarters.
He presently lives in Montreux in Switzerland and is considered one of the most prominent personalities of the Iranian Diaspora. He has been condemned to death by the courts of the revolutionary government of Iran.
AHMAD AHRAR is a well-known Iranian journalist. He was the editor in chief of the newspaper, Kayhan.
FARHANG JAHANPOUR received his PhD from the University of Cambridge. He was formerly professor and Dean of the Faculty of Languages at the University of Isfahan, Iran. He has also taught at the Universities of Cambridge, Reading and Oxford after which Dr Jahanpour worked for 18 years as the Editor for Middle East and North Africa for the BBC. He has translated numerous books including works by Arnold Toynbee.
Ardeshir Zahedi photograph courtesy of Tino Zahedi © Tino Zahedi