Header Image


Bad Eagle Journal

Youngest Pahlavi Son Commits Suicide

by David Yeagley · January 4, 2011 · 11 Comments ·

Ali Reza Pahlavi, the youngest son of the great Shah of Iran, committed suicide early this morning, around 2:00 am (Tuesday, January 4, 2011). His older brother, Reza Pahlavi, the eldest son of the Shah, reported the tragedy.

Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran, reports the death of his younger brother, Ali Reza, Tuesday, January 4, 2011.

“With immense grief that we would like to inform our compatriots of the passing away of Prince Alireza Pahlavi,” Reza announced on his website.

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.

Although he 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.

Once again, we are joined with mothers, father and relatives of so many victims of these dark times for our country.

Police said they found the victim of an apparently self-inflicted gun shot wound in his Boston appartment. Alireza was 44 years old, and had studied music as an undergraduate at Princeton University (1984) and ancient Iranian studies as a graduate student at Columbia University (1992). He never married, and was undertaking a postgraduate degree at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in philology and ancient Iranian studies.

This is the second of the four Pahlavi children to take his own life. The younger daughter, Leila, took her own life in June of 2001 (at the age of 31). The sorrow does not cease. (Indeed, it was the beauty of Farah Diba Pahlavi’s life that won my heart in the first place.)

Farah Diba Pahlavi and her daughter Leila.

Surely, there are many Iranians in the diaspora, those living outside their home country, who bear burdens in the same key. They all are heartbroken over their country. That such a glorious and ancient nation should evolve into the cruelty and perversion of such a tyranny as reigns there today is more than any patriot could bear without the gravest gloom. Most Iranians, in America, certainly, have found a positive approach to life. They are naturally energetic, hopeful, and possessed of a great love of beauty and refinement, whatever their profession happens to be. It just so happens that the “cream of the crop” does happen to live in America (in my personal, proud opinion). American Iranians are the most successful “minority” group in the country, numbering a little over two million. However, they were never given any kind of minority status. They’re just white people, from another country, and they work harder than most, and they have great deal of talent.

But sorrow attends the royal family, despite the talent, the beauty, the lofty visions.

Beauty itself is the sister of sorrow, really. Sorrow is beautiful. It is not the Persian way to flee from sorrow, or beauty. It is a brave people, with an abiding love. shall write further on this. The news of Alireza’s death just came to me this afternoon–by way of a phone call from my dearest Iranian friend here in Oklahoma. Of all the hundreds of Iranians he knows, I was the first human being he called to share the news. This is a brother, indeed.

To my other brother, Reza, the Prince, to his beloved mother–whom I have adored since 1981, to his remaining sister, to his wife, and to his dear children, I offer my most profound sympathies and tears. I pray that the Almighty stay the hand of death further.

Reza is a glorious man. Full of love, life, and joy. I am sure the family leans deeply upon him. I wish only that I could be with them all at this time. In spirit, I wish peace upon them. And peace upon their brother, Alireza.

Posted by David Yeagley · January 4, 2011 · 5:27 pm CT · ·

Tags: Bad Eagle Journal · Iranians · Persia · Race

Read More Journal Posts »

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 BrockTownsend // Jan 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm   

    So sad and such a beautiful family.

  • 2 REG // Jan 4, 2011 at 7:41 pm   

    Our group meets every Friday at a restaurant owned by an Iranian family, everyone there is friendly, especially the family members that work there. I am glad to hear that even though some of the Shah’s family has died, there are some who remain. I was under the impression that Khomeini had issued a Fatah (I think) against the family and they had all been killed. Glad to see that I was wrong. My sympathy to the family.

  • 3 David Yeagley // Jan 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm   

    They are quite elegant. Alireza apparently was crushed by the death of his sister Leila in 2001. He apparently never recovered. I should say, he “apparently” did, but, inside, he really didn’t.

    These children all went through a lot in their young lives, as did their young mother. Reza holds himself with such kingly dignity and strength. The mother has love, more than anything else, I should say. In my opinion, that’s what makes her great. (And I knew that before she ever published her memoirs! Her Majesty does have my “opinion” listed among the reviews, on her site.)

  • 4 Pamela K. // Jan 4, 2011 at 8:20 pm   

    This is a terrible tragedy. He was such a handsome young man, My heart goes out to his family, but especially to his mother. I can’t even begin to imagine how she must feel. I pray that God will comfort her in her loss of her child.

  • 5 Youngest Pahlavi Son Commits Suicide | World`s daily news // Jan 4, 2011 at 9:44 pm

  • 6 David Yeagley // Jan 4, 2011 at 11:11 pm   

    Here’s a beautiful photo of Alireza Pahlavi, from Darius Kadavar (

    Ali Reza Pahlavi

  • 7 Following Him // Jan 5, 2011 at 12:39 am   

    We never get used to this one truth … “Death hurts.”

    I believe this is why Jesus wept at the grave of His friend Lazarus even knowing He was about to raise him back to life.

  • 8 David Yeagley // Jan 5, 2011 at 10:31 am   

    To be hated, to be despised, to be unwanted and hunted, these are agonizing circumstances that often attend death. The Pahlavi family became controversial, obviously, in 1979.

    One has to wonder how this played into the thinking of both Pahlavi children who took their own lives.

    They have lived with guards, of course. There are many celebraties who live this way, certainly. But, to be profoundly hated by so many of your own people, this is the price of politics, really. Would that the children had not taken it so seriously. But, they did.

    Why? They love their people! Their sadness and depression is the evidence of their sincerity, seems to me. They had a sense of irreparable, irremeable failure. They simply could not rise above the accussation of life.

    But, these are distant thoughts. Only God knows the drama in their souls.

  • 9 Pamela K. // Jan 5, 2011 at 11:41 am   

    “I did not know it then – perhaps I did not want to know – but it is clear to me now that the Americans wanted me out. Clearly this is what the human rights advocates in the State Department wanted … What was I to make of the Administration’s sudden decision to call former Under Secretary of State George Ball to the White House as an adviser on Iran? Ball was among those Americans who wanted to abandon me and ultimately my country.” – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran

    Jimmy Carter’s administration abandoned support for the Shah to lend clandestine support to the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini.
    This is why Ahmadinejad is in power in Iran today. I wonder whether Carter now regrets his fateful decision.

  • 10 David Yeagley // Jan 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm   

    I suppose the only thing a religious liberal regrets is not getting his American denigration through as policy. Carter succeeded.

  • 11 World Spinner // Jan 7, 2011 at 2:16 pm   

    Youngest Pahlavi Son Commits Suicide…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

You must log in to post a comment.