Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of the last shah of Iran Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi has died in France aged 96.
The late princess played an active role in the political and diplomatic Iranian arena for decades, and first became well known in 1945 when she led a mission to Moscow in order to convince the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to withdraw his forces from North Iran.
In 1953, America helped orchestrate the coup that overthrew Mohammad Mossadegh’s government over fears he was inclining towards the Soviet Union. That brought her brother to power.
According to a long-classified CIA account of the coup first published by The New York Times in 2000, the shah was “a man of indecision”. Thus, to push the coup along, the plotters reached out to the shah’s twin sister who had already been in touch with U.S. and British agents. After “considerable pressure” applied by Princess Ashraf and a U.S. general, the shah agreed.
After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Princess Ashraf settled down in France, disappeared from sight, and wore black clothes to mourn the death of her twin brother whom she loved very much.
Official media in Iran quoted the death of Princess Ashraf from international media reports, while the state television reported that she died in Monte Carlo, describing her as “well known for corruption”.