Intriguing Mummy Discovery May Be Tricky Problem for Iran

Remains could be that of Reza Shah Pahlavi, father of overthrown shah
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2018 2:24 PM CDT
In this November 1941 file photo, Reza Shah Pahlavi talks at one of his public appearances in an unidentified place.   (AP Photo, File)
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(Newser) – A construction worker in Tehran has unearthed a mummified body at a former royal mausoleum, and its discovery could pose a tricky problem for the nation's rulers. The hot speculation is that the remains are that of Reza Shah Pahlavi, seen by many as the founder of modern Iran and the father of the shah who was overthrown in the 1979 revolution, reports the Telegraph. It's a "possibility," says the head of the city's heritage committee, and one "that will be examined by responsible bodies." It was not clear if or when DNA tests would take place. Pahlavi had been placed in the mausoleum after his death in 1944, but revolutionaries destroyed the site following the Iranian revolution. Pahlavi's body was never recovered. It was his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown.

The discovery of the remains came during work on a Shiite shrine, and a spokesman for that shrine dismisses the idea that the remains are that of Pahlavi. If he's wrong, however, the AP explains that Iran's leaders have a fine line to navigate. Pahlavi, who rose to power in 1925 and ruled until his abdication in 1941, is still widely revered. Among other things, he ordered men to wear Western clothes and to bring their wives to public events with their hair uncovered. He also banned women from wearing long robes known as chadors. His grandson, Reza Pahlavi, tweeted Monday that he is closely watching how authorities handle the investigation into the remains. "I warn the responsible authorities not to hide anything," he wrote. (Read more Iran stories.)

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