Answer to History (Magill's Literary Annual 1981)
In Answer to History, the late Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, gives his personal account of the achievements of his thirty-seven-year reign which ended with his overthrow. In fourteen chapters and three appendixes, he argues a case for a monarchical form of government in Iran and the legitimacy of his rule. The final manuscript which was completed shortly before his death on July 27, 1980, opens with a twenty-four page description of his period of exile in the West and his disillusionment with Western hospitality. The document, while largely self-serving, is valuable as a historical record of the reign of one of the world’s last autocratic kings.
From the moment his exile began in January, 1979, the Shah was not eager to go to the United States. The Carter Administration had been ambivalent in supporting his government during the previous year of civil riots and strikes and had not offered him political asylum. After brief state visits in Egypt and Morocco, the Shah sojourned in the Bahamas, Mexico, the United States for medical treatment, Panama, and Egypt where he died. Only in Egypt was he truly welcomed. Government officials in other host countries were alternately welcoming and remote. Price gougers victimized his staff in the Bahamas and Panama. Promises of visa extensions were suddenly rescinded, often without explanation. He had been a strong friend to the West and an enemy of communism; but in return, the West treated him with...
(The entire section is 2386 words.)
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