Son of Iran Shah commits suicide in US

The youngest son of the late shah of Iran has committed suicide in his home in the United States.

Last Updated: Jan 05, 2011, 15:33 PM IST

Washington: The youngest son of the late shah of Iran has committed suicide in his home in the United
States, his family said.

"It is with immense grief that we would like to inform our compatriots of the passing away of Prince Alireza Pahlavi," Reza Pahlavi, the shah`s oldest son, said on his website.

He said that his brother, 44, who was studying at Havard University, had struggled to come to terms with the political troubles in his native country of Iran.

"Like millions of young Iranians, he too was deeply disturbed by all the ills fallen upon his beloved homeland, as well as carrying the burden of losing a father and a sister in his young life," Reza Pahlavi wrote.

"Although he had struggled for years to overcome his sorrow, he finally succumbed, and during the night of the 4th of January 2011, in his Boston residence, took his own life, plunging his family and friends into great sorrow."

Alireza Pahlavi was undertaking a postgraduate degree at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in philology and ancient Iranian studies.

His father, the former shah, Mohammad Reza, was ousted in the 1979 Islamic revolution, and his family moved to live in exile in the United States. The deposed shah died in July 1980 and is buried in Cairo.

It was a further tragedy to befall the family.

The shah`s youngest daughter, princess Leila Pahlavi, died in 2001 at the age of 31 when her body was found in a London hotel. There were reports that she took a drugs overdose.

According to widespread press reports in Britain, the princess had struggled for years against an eating disorder, had never accepted her exile from Iran and suffered periodic bouts of depression.

"For the past few years, Leila was very depressed. Time had not healed her wounds," the princess`s mother, Farah Pahlavi, wrote on a remembrance website in 2001.
"Exiled at the age of 9, she never surmounted the death of her father, His Majesty Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, to whom she was particularly close.

"She was never able to forget the injustice and the dramatic conditions of our departure and the erring which was to follow. She could not stand living far from Iran and shared wholeheartedly the suffering of her countrymen."

Former crown prince Reza Pahlavi, who has lived in the United States since 1984, has traveled around the world to raise awareness of what he calls the plight of Iranians living under the Islamic regime in Iran.
In 2009, he warned of dire consequences if the international community allowed the Iranian regime to defeat the protest movement which was rocking the country over disputed presidential elections.

"At worst, fanatical tyrants who know that the future is against them may end their present course on their terms: a nuclear holocaust," Pahlavi told journalists.