CAIRO: July 27 is the 39th anniversary of the death of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, who is buried at Al-Rifai Mosque in Cairo.
Farah Diba, the former empress of Iran and wife of Pahlavi, has been in Cairo for the past few days heading a delegation commemorating the anniversary.
She visited the grave of the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, accompanied by his widow Jihan, in the Nasr City area earlier in the day, before the pair traveled together to Al-Rifai Mosque.
Diba lay wreaths on her husband’s grave, listened to verses from the Holy Qu’ran, and delivered a speech.
She praised the level of security in Egypt and the economic progress made under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and highlighted the strength of the relationship between her and Jihan.
Diba recalled the difficult days she suffered with her husband after the revolution in Iran, saying that she would not forget that Egypt and Sadat opened the door to her and her family.
“I am sorry for the wave of executions (in Iran), that included many officials, senior officers and army commanders,” she said, adding that she still dreams of freedom for her family’s homeland.
Empress Diba, or Farah Pahlavi as she is also known, is famous for her annual commemoration of her husband’s death. She leads members of the Pahlavi family, along with veterans and royal supporters from Europe and the US, to Al-Rifai every year, where the shah is buried next to his father, Shah Reza Pahlavi.
I am sorry for the wave of executions (in Iran), that included many officials, senior officers and army commanders.
Farah Diba, Former empress of Iran
The story of the family’s departure from Iran dates back to the 1970s, when there were demonstrations in Iran against the regime. The shah, who was in poor health, initially tried to travel to Europe, but eventually was allowed to settle in Egypt by Sadat in 1979.
He later traveled to the US in search of treatment for acute lymphoma, which resulted in the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran, when 52 Americans were take as hostages, with Iran stipulating that they would not be released unless the shah was returned to stand trial.
The shah died on July 27, 1980, at the Armed Forces Hospital in Maadi, Egypt, at the age of 61.