This is a documentary on the reign of the last Shahanshah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who was overthrown by Khomeini’s Islamic ‘revolution' in 1979.
Many aspects of the Shah's rule are evocated : his very personality as a king who hesitated when confronted with difficulties to crack down on dissent and as a king who wanted Iran to attain equality amongst western nations and the free world at large through a quick, ambitious and successful development program.
Furthermore, this documentary is based on the testimony of many personalities who took part in Iran’s history in the 20th century. Most notably former Iranian ambassador to the USA, Ardeshir Zahedi and the former British and US ambassadors to Iran as well as ex editor to the Iranian Kayhan daily Amir Taheri.
It is, though, surprising that the BBC delivered a quite well balanced documentary when one recalls that this very TV station slandered the Shah and his regime during the seventies and supported dissent by providing the world with dishonest reports on Iran’s internal situation (such as inflating the number of political prisoners held by the SAVAK, constantly turning a blind eye on the fact that many were convicted with acts of terror and portraying the Shah as a megalomaniac dictator).
Ultimately, there are few errors in this documentary, for example: the Shah’s father, Reza Pahlavi was crowned king on the insistence of the clergy who, at that time, still thought that Iran’s 2500 years monarchy was to be preserved. Furthermore, Mossadegh is depicted as a democrat while he, in fact, ruled as an eccentric populist leader and he contemplated the prospect of restoring Sharia law. In contrast, this report re-establishes the truth about the downfall of Mossadegh: the CIA’s plot to overthrow him had failed while genuine backers of the monarchy and a popular uprising eventually confronted him successfully a few days later.