|Country||Imperial State of Persia/Iran|
|Place of origin||Mazandaran|
|Founded||15 December 1925|
|Current head||Reza Pahlavi|
|Final ruler||Mohammad Reza Pahlavi|
|Connected families||Muhammad Ali dynasty (1941–1948)|
|Deposition||11 February 1979|
The Pahlavi dynasty (Persian: دودمان پهلوی) was the last Iranian royal dynasty, ruling for almost 54 years between 1925 and 1979. The dynasty was founded by Reza Shah Pahlavi, a non-aristocratic Mazanderani soldier in modern times, who took on the name of the Pahlavi language spoken in the pre-Islamic Sasanian Empire in order to strengthen his nationalist credentials.
The dynasty replaced the Qajar dynasty in 1925 after the 1921 coup d'état, beginning on 14 January 1921 when 42-year-old soldier Reza Khan was promoted by British General Edmund Ironside to lead the British-run Persian Cossack Brigade. About a month later, under British direction, Reza Khan's 3,000-4,000 strong detachment of the Cossack Brigade reached Tehran in what became known as the 1921 Persian coup d'état. The rest of the country was taken by 1923, and by October 1925 the Majlis agreed to depose and formally exile Ahmad Shah Qajar. The Majlis declared Reza Pahlavi as the new Shah of Iran on 12 December 1925, pursuant to the Persian Constitution of 1906. Initially, Pahlavi had planned to declare the country a republic, as his contemporary Atatürk had done in Turkey, but abandoned the idea in the face of British and clerical opposition.
The dynasty ruled Iran for 28 years as a form of constitutional monarchy from 1925 until 1953, and following the overthrow of the democratically elected prime minister, for a further 26 years as a more autocratic monarchy until the dynasty was itself overthrown in 1979.
See also: Pahlavi family tree
In 1878, Reza Khan was born at the village of Alasht in Savadkuh County, Mazandaran Province. His parents were Abbas Ali Khan and Noushafarin Ayromlou. His mother was a Muslim immigrant from Georgia (then part of the Russian Empire), whose family had emigrated to mainland Qajar Iran after Iran was forced to cede all of its territories in the Caucasus following the Russo-Persian Wars several decades prior to Reza Shah's birth. His father was a Mazandarani, commissioned in the 7th Savadkuh Regiment, and served in the Anglo-Persian War in 1856.
|Name||Portrait||Family relations||Lifespan||Entered office||Left office|
|Shahs of Iran|
|1||Reza Shah Pahlavi||Son of Abbas Ali||1878–1944||15 December 1925||16 September 1941|
|2||Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi||Son of Reza Shah||1919–1980||16 September 1941||11 February 1979|
|1||Mohammad Reza Pahlavi||Son of Reza Shah||1919–1980||11 February 1979||27 July 1980|
||Wife of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi||1938–||27 July 1980||31 October 1980|
|2||Reza Pahlavi||Son of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi||1960–||31 October 1980||Incumbent|
|Picture||Name||Father||Birth||Marriage||Became Consort||Ceased to be Consort||Death||Spouse|
|Tadj ol-Molouk||Teymūr Khan Ayromlou||1896||1916||15 December 1925||16 September 1941
|Esmat Dowlatshahi||Gholam Ali Mirza Dowlatshahi||1905||1923||1995|
|Princess Fawzia of Egypt||Fuad I of Egypt||1921||1939||16 September 1941||17 November 1948
|2013||Mohammad Reza Shah|
|Soraya Esfandiary-Bakhtiary||Khalil Esfandiary-Bakhtiary||1932||12 February 1951||15 March 1958
|Farah Diba||Sohrab Diba||1938||21 December 1959||11 February 1979
The former constitution of Iran specifically provided that only a male who was not descended from Qajar dynasty could become the heir apparent. This made all half-brothers of Mohammad Reza ineligible to become heirs to the throne. Until his death in 1954, the Shah's only full brother Ali Reza was his heir presumptive.
The constitution also required the Shah to be of Iranian descent, meaning that his father and mother are Iranian.
|Name||Portrait||Relationship to monarch||Became heir||Ceased to be heir; reason|
|Office vacant from 15 December 1925 to 24 April 1926|
|1||Mohammad Reza Pahlavi||Eldest son||25 April 1926||16 September 1941|
|Office vacant from 16 September 1941 to 26 October 1967|
|2||Reza Pahlavi II||Eldest son||1 November 1960 (Proclaimed)
26 October 1967 (Designated)
|11 February 1979|
Main articles: Pahlavi Crown, Empress Crown, and Iranian Crown Jewels
Main articles: Mausoleum of Reza Shah and Shahyad Tower
(..) His mother, who was of Georgian origin, died not long after, leaving Reza in her brother's care in Tehran. (...).
(...) His mother, Nush Afarin, was a Georgian Muslim immigrant (...).
His Imperial Highness Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran, will reach his constitutional majority on the 9th of Aban, 1359 (October 31, 1980). On this date, and in conformity with the Iranian Constitution, the regency of Her Imperial Majesty Farah Pahlavi, Shahbanou of Iran, will come to an end and His Imperial Highness, who on this occasion will send a message to the people of Iran, will succeed his father, His Imperial Majesty Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, deceased in Cairo on Mordad 5, 1359 (July 27, 1980).
2. The Shah gives another account for his separation with Fawzia. "For reasons still obscure to medical science, Queen Fawzia bore only one child; thus unfortunately no male heir issued from our marriage. Under the Persian Constitution the crown must pass by direct line of descent to a male heir. This rules out not only my daughter but also my three sisters. The Constitution further stipulates that no one descended from the previous Qajar dynasty is eligible to become king. Since two of my father's wives were of Qajar blood, my half-brothers who are their sons are ineligible. In fact I had only one brother not related to the Qajar line, and to my sorrow he was to die in an aeroplane crash in 1954. With these limitations it is no wonder that my advisors felt it important for my wife to bear a son. It is true that the Constitution might have been amended, but the dimate of opinion seemed opposed to tampering with the provisions relating to the royal succession. Besides, I was young and, quite apart from the constitutional factor, I wanted more children. When Queen Fawzia went to Egypt on an extended stay, we decided on a divorce." Please see Mission for My Country His Imperial Majesty Mohammad Reza Shah Pahiavi, Hutchinson and Co. (Publishers) Ltd., London, 1961-1968; pp. 219-220