Wife of Late Shah Calls for More Freedom for Iranians

Washington, D.C., March 19, 2004 - Farah Pahlavi, the wife of the late Shah of Iran, told the Voice of America (VOA) today that Iranians need to gain their freedom now, and once they gain that freedom, the people should decide what type of government Iran should have.

The woman many Iranians still refer to as Queen Farah, who fled from Iran along with her husband during the Islamic revolution in 1979, made the comments on VOA's Persian-language radio and TV program Roundtable with You. She was also interviewed on VOA's daily Persian-language radio and TV program News and Views and on the English-language radio program Main Street.

The former queen of Iran said "the Islamic republic has lost its credibility." When asked why the Shah had not done more to stop the influence of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini when he had a chance, She replied, "He was not willing to retain power by shedding blood." Speaking to VOA's audience in Iran, she said, "I do not remain bitter. You youth have suffered far more than I have. I wish the youth of Iran a bright future." She also said that the Shah was lucky to have died before witnessing the suffering of the Iranian people during the last 25 years, and what has happened to women and to human rights in Iran.

During the Roundtable with You call-in, the Persian Service staff received hundreds of emails and numerous phone calls. There was time to take only 33 emails and phone calls during the broadcast, but the former monarch was clearly touched by the response. "With all the calls and emails that were flowing in," she said, "I felt myself overwhelmed as if I'm in Iran and among the Iranian people."

Her book about her life with the Shah, An Enduring Love: My Life With the Shah: A Memoir, has recently been published.

The Voice of America reaches millions of Iranians with its Persian-language TV programs including Roundtable with You, a 90-minute call-in show; News and Views, a nightly newscast; and Next Chapter, a youth-oriented magazine program. VOA also broadcasts on shortwave radio inside Iran and its programs are also available in audio and video at www.VOANews.com/persian.

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