Nahid Persson Sarvestani

"The Queen and I" documentary about Farah Diba Pahlavi

BBC: 30 years after the revolution in Iran and being forced into exile, the wife of the shah, Empress Farah Diba Pahlavi breaks her the silence. Swedish filmmaker Nahid Persson Sarvestani, the maker of the documentary "The Queen and I," which is based on the life of the queen and her family. The movie looks at aspects of their daily life, and political views after fact being out of the country for so long.


more from Darius Kadivar

One of the worst films out there...

by Mr. Babak (not verified) on

A former communist living in a luxury home and driving a new volvo. Making thousands from these films. Then criticizing the former shah and his queen. This is the height of hypocrisy. Freedom of expression? Idiots like her and the mullahs were given TOO MUCH freedom of expression. The shah had pity on their pathetic unrealistic ideologies and youthful stupidity by not crushing the revolution when he had the chance. The result: a nation destroyed, a people starving(literally and figuratively) and a millions strong diaspora of Iran's brightest and best.


Thank you for making such a wonderful film.

by Bill in Sacramento, CA (not verified) on

Personal and political feelings aside, this film was less about a queen or any one person. It tells the story of the Iranian people and shows them not to be the flag burning, America hating extremists that most of us that have been born in the US have been brought to believe.

I had no idea that 30 years ago, Iran actually looked like it would have been a place I'd willingly travel to. Having watched the horrific events perpetrated on peaceful people and after having watched this film, I will never look at Iran or the middle east the same way. We're taught to fear and loathe middle easterners (and most anyone not white or european) from the time we're babies. This film further demonstrates a populace, that like most of us here in the US, just want a chance to live a life, free from oppression, free from tyranny and free to live peacefully (free from commercials would be too much to ask for, right?).

If more people took the time to open their minds, the way that both of these women do, the world would be a much more peaceful and enjoyable place to live. Both women demonstrate wisdom, courage and empathy that everyone can learn from. Bravo!!!


The Queen and I

by Anne (not verified) on

As an American, I viewed, today, the documentary of the Queen and I. I felt Nahid Persson did a wonderful and fair portrait of this former Queen. The interview showed a side of her I have not seen before in other interviews, that, at times brought tears to my eyes, a credit to Nahid, to show the vulnerable side of this gentile lady. No matter what your politacal views, you cannot deny her grace, her love for her country, and her devotion to her husband and family. For a world of film making not worthy to see, this was a jewel in a crown that can no longer be worn. Thank you, Nahid.

Azarin Sadegh

Thanks Darius!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful video! A very moving documentary!

I have so much respect for her...Especially now, that I'm older and I value more all the great cultural opportunities she created for the Iranians at every level. As I remember, she was very much loved among ordinary people and I had seen her walking without any security-guards among the crowd, or in the farthest villages.

What was her crime? To be married to Shah!! But couldn’t she just have fun and travel and waste money? Today, when I look at the list of groups/artists she had invited for the Art festival of Shiraz I just can’t believe my eyes, as they’re all the most important and the most avant-guards in their respective domains…Plus, she always cared for Iran and supported the Iranian art.  

Too bad that we treated her the way we did... Even today after everything we have lived and witnessed!

I think these stories should be told and these documentaries should be made so the next generations would know the whole story...History used to be written only by the victors, but not anymore!!! Now, we have internet and Youtube...Fortunately!

Thanks again, Azarin


amir 64

by Anonymousx (not verified) on

I totally agree with you, BUT an understanding based on facts not gossips. Gossips and maufactured misinformation were and are rampent in iran and that has been a source of our misfortune. In fact there are many book published, and encouraged to be published by IRI, about Pahlavi regime (ashraf, sorayya, shah's mother, etc.) in iranian bookstores emphasizing their private lives, some with contradictory information.

Some of the gossips of Ms. Farah I had not heard before, but had heard plenty of similar claims, many discredited as time has passed by. Even the sources that she mentions are suspicious: dr. abbas milani is a former leftist imprisoned by the shah and therefore cannot be trusted to be void of agenda. His previous publication about Hoveida was discredited in many ways buy many, including:


We can learn from truth, but can be harmed from gossips, specially when it relates to private lives of the shah that is of little value and subject to no reliable independent verification.



by amir64 (not verified) on

For your information, it was during the 1970's that the foundation of the Pahlavi monarchy began to crumble. This is one of the most important periods in the contemporary history of iran. Going back to the events of that period is very much relevant to the understanding of the causes of the fall of the shah.



by Anonymousx (not verified) on

You need to grow up! We have never been down the road of truth; on the contrary, we have been down the road of gossips and lies taken as truth, to the extent that it has become part of our culture. Which one of the claims of Emam Khomeini turned out to be true, you tell me. Most, if not all, of his claims proved to be lies by none but revolutionaries, likes of Ganji and Baghi. There is no my truth and your truth; there is only one truth, but many gossips and lies.

Besides, running a country is not a competition in sainthood -- for that you end up getting none but likes of Khomeini and Khamenei. And then you end up realizing that the type of crowd that ends up running a country, iran or any other country, is no saint at all.

Running a country is to care about people and progress of the country selflessly, not who may or may not have had orgy with whom. These are only irrelevant diversions that are difficult to prove or disprove one way or the other.

Acting like fools of the 70s to make a mountain out of a straw does not get us anywhere. Starting with the same irrelevant non-sense that khomeini used to drag people into the streets will only lead us to retrace the same road taken in the last 30 years.

Praise or criticize the shah, if you will, based on what he did or did not do for the country, rather than irrelevant childish arguments regurgitated from the 70s. Impacts of what shah did for the country (the universities, the steel mill, ...) still remain; whom he did or did not sleep with is long gone and buried and rotten under piles of dust.

You appear to be living somewhere in the comfort of the west (with all their orgies and this slept with that), obviously preferring that to living under the (supposedly orgy-less and godly) islamic republic. Learn something from the society that you live in, rather than only physically living in the west and mentally still living in iran of the 70s with the same arguments and same attitudes.

Farah Rusta

Anonymousx and Hooshie

by Farah Rusta on

Why is it that when you Shahollahis are criticized by other monarchists you become aggressive and vindictive? As if being a monarchist is your right and yours only. The biggest flaw in the late Shah's 38-year rule was his fear of truth. It is a popular saying that "with Reza Shah no one dared to lie but with with Mohammad Reza Shah no one dared to tell the truth". Now thirty years after the fall of the latter, you are still afraid of hearing the truth. You ask for evidence from reliable sources!!! We have been down that road many times before and the end was always the same: what is relaible to me is unreilable to you. Even if I produce a taped video or audio recording of my allegations you can dismiss them as reconstructed or fake! I am not saying what I say to be accepted or rejected by you guys. My target audiences are those who know precisely what I am talking about, in other words, the culprit. Nevertheless, the radio interviews by Dr Abbas Milani (soon to be published in his biography of the Shah) or memoires of Dr H Nahavandi are but two examples of the written documents.

 I leave you and leave this blog with this last thought: There were, and still are, those who care for the instituation of monarchy more than the Shah and Empress and their offsprings put together. Sadly they were not listened to. The rest, as they say, is history.



Madame Rusta Thank you! The

by Fatollah (not verified) on

Madame Rusta

Thank you!

The feeling is mutual!

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

Oh Darius. Even with that cute face of yours......

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

You are such a heartbreaker.....

So now my criticism of Reza the Clown is responsible for executions? You are insane. You're a cutie, but insane.

Oh and I do like Robert Baer. So what? Lots of people in US media do also - are they responsible for Iranian Executions? Are you nuts? I do not want an attack on Iran. I want Iran to change and I do not think Reza Pahlavi and hi Martin Luther King plagiarism is "new ideas and democracy". He's a fraud.

He's lucky to have supporters like you though I guess...if he wants less supporters I guess.



With supporters like you ...

by hooshie on

Ms Rustah

As they say, with friends like you who needs an enemy? There are always a number of kasseh garm tar az aash like you around who think they are more catholic than the Pope himself! If the sons of two darbaari decided to marry each other what has this got to do with Shahbanu Farah? Or if the organizers of the Jashne Honar Shiraz decided to take their art to the ordinary people of Kuche o Bazaar, why should the Shahbanu take the blame? You are, as another commentator said must have found a channel to release your frustration against the Pahlavi family,


 The truth, as spoken by Mr Kadivar, hurts most. Deal with it!


And one more thing...

by Anonymousx (not verified) on

Farah Pahlavi has not harmed a fly during her life time. Her only crime is to have been the wife of the shah who ruled during the most prosperous period in iran. So why so much useless old-age venom people have against her is beyond me.

Frah Pahlavi does not smoke and never has.

Is it jealousy, arrogance, why her and not me, lack of knowledge, religiosity, leftism, or what?

Darius Kadivar

MARGE YOU ARE the One who is Insecure !

by Darius Kadivar on

Otherwise you wouldn't Open Your Mouth Only to Slander and Talk Shit when you are much more intelligent than what you pretend not to be. You Said the same Crap on issues you hardly had any clue of nor even cared to look at carefully like when you critisized my well informed critics of Robert Baer.

I Don't Hate You, But I Do dislike Your Mentality. For it is this kind of  Mentality your Share with Your other Friend Cameron AND this type of behavior that is characteristic of the MOB and which often results in Sending Innocent People to the Execution Squads of the IRI under the pretext of Justice. You people are not criminals you are simply blind endorsers of actions you can hardly comprehend nor predict their consenquences because you react based on prejudice, impatience and lack of knowledge most of the time.

Comments For Which You People NEVER have the decency to Feel Guilty about BUT have the audacity to demand that from others ?


And I can bring about many, MANY other similar examples including of people I know personally.


So Yes I DISLIKE THE MENTALITY YOU DISPLAY ONLINE ( Which may be Very Different from Who You Really Are) and It doesn't make me laugh !


In French its Called LA BETISE !

Maybe I am to blame for not having your sense of humor, But then again I never claimed to be Perfect !







by Anonymousx (not verified) on

You said:

The issues that I raised in my previous comment are not privileged information but public knowledge. ... The points that I raised are not based innuendos or idle gossip. The Key Club scandal, the Number One boutique and the first gay partnership of the sons of two of the courtiers, the sexually explicit open-theatre in Bazaar Vakil in Shiraz and other provocative incidents were well publicized events.

Okay, if this is not gossip, then show us your reliable source in this day and age of information, or were you personally present there yourself?

Or is it that you want to believe anything that supports your ideology and venom against the shah of the BEST days of iran in the past 200 years.

If it is the latter, then I can help you out with similar more "public knowledge" from 70s and some from today's iran:

From 70s:

(1) Prince Reza Pahlavi is Mute.

(2) Shah has a 22 year-old bride from Mazanderan. She is said to be the most beautiful girl in the whole iran.

(3) Shah has 350,000 political prisoners.

(4) Shah has killed 600,000 political prisoners [Your Emam Khomaini claimed].

(5) Shah stole $20 Billion [your Emam Khoemieni claimed].

(6) Shah's mother is lesbian.

(7) Prince Ashraf trades in heroin.


And now from today's streets of Tehran:

(a) Khomeini was seen going into a room with a young boy and coming out with wet pants.

(b) Khamenei's father was asked not to bring his young boy, Seyed Ali, to mosque since other mullas have been seen doing him.

(c) Rafsanjani does political prisoner girls personally.

and on and on.

People believe what they want to believe, about the shah or about the mullas; but there is only one truth and that is the one supported by a reliable source who has been personality present there. Were you personally present in what you accuse them of as "public knowledge"?

We know what happened when we believed your Emam, that was not supposed to lie, lied; only to tell us later on that he lied [he said: khod'eh kardam]. And we know where all those "public knowledge" brought us: 30 years of disaster.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

Darius I feel sorry for you. I don't dislike you.

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

You constantly use Hamas against me. why? I couldn't give two stones what happens to Filistine OR Jerusalem. You found a country on religion, you knock out some people, you get a nice steamy stew of crap. Bon Appetite mon ami.

You use Hamas against everyone here who doesn't agree with you. Give it up. it's not Your way or Hamas/IRI. Give up the act. Stop being insecure. I'm not your enemy. You get so goddam offended when I complain about what a clown Reza Pahlavi is. 

BTW I have never defended Hamas OR Israel. I think doing either has very little to do with Iran. 

It's nice that you cling to Esther to prove that you are SO different than mullahs. I'm secure enough to not need to do that, despite what monarchist fascists like you do to us on this site. I show my love for Jews in much different ways.... private ways, NON political ways.

*I still love you. Bisou! 


Deev and Marge

by A1 (not verified) on

What is your problem? Jealous? Left out from the boom time in Iran? Were you born to a religious or Marxist family? I wish you would talk to Dr. Farnoodi and get a good psycho analysis.

HIM, doesn't smoke!!!! No orgies!!!

You need to get educated on how to be a construtive critique, if that is what you are trying to convey.

Darius Kadivar

Marge On Demo CRAZY ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Your Right I am Against CRAZY Demo's. As a Matter of Fact, Like My Son Xerxes I would Relish to Treat Unloyal Subjects like You in the Same Way He banished unfaithful Queen Vashti out of his Sight :


And Married a Jewish Slave Esther he Crowned Queen Instead !

Even A Zionist Slave is more Qualified for Queenship than a Blue Wigged Hamas Apologist Iranian




Farah Rusta

The Empress and I

by Farah Rusta on

It is most unfortunate to see that my critique of the former Empress has given an excuse to a load of low lifers and riffraff to use this opportunity and to flush out their mental cesspit all over this blog. Using such abusive language is below contempt and only points to the basely origins of those who use it.

For the record, I would like to add, that as a supporter of the constitutional monarchy I see it as my right to challenge and criticize it in a public forum. The issues that I raised in my previous comment are not privileged information but public knowledge.  If some choose to blindly follow and never question, that this their right to do so but they cannot expect others to follow their examples. The points that I raised are not based innuendos or idle gossip. The Key Club scandal, the Number One boutique and the first gay partnership of the sons of two of the courtiers, the sexually explicit open-theatre in Bazaar Vakil in Shiraz and other provocative incidents were well publicized events. These may have been acceptable in the Swedish society but could not have been tolerated in an intensely traditional and religious environment as in the sixties and seventies Iran. The circle of Champagne socialists that had been patronized by the Empress loved it but the wider religious population begged to differ. History is the best witness.


I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

I love you too Darius

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

Democrazy at its best. 

Darius Kadivar

Marge Do Us A Favor ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

Shut Up ! Or Start Your Own Anti Pahlavi Blog ...

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

I wonder what brand of cigarettes she smokes?

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

If she does a PR campaign for them she can fund this wonderful regime change Reza is banking on because obviously USA is broke.

Vive Reza, le petit prince! Bisou!

Farah you need to get your face out there. Use your fame. Don't be shy. Side by side Reza. Take Europe by storm. USA is broke. France is ground zero for Iranian democracy. 


Education is the key my friends

by XerXes (not verified) on

".in my view Farah Diba Pahavi will go in history as one of the most progressive and noble and advanced women in Iranian history-- Her contribution goes way farther and deeper than Forough Faroakh Zad's, Parvin Etesami's, and Simin tabatabai's to Persian culture and civilization and beyond."




by AH Danesh (not verified) on my view Farah Diba Pahavi will go in history as one of the most progressive and noble and advanced women in Iranian history-- Her contribution goes way farther and deeper than Forough Faroakh Zad's, Parvin Etesami's, and Simin tabatabai's to Persian culture and civilization and beyond.

It is not clear for how long the Iranians should wait until they get their next magnificent Farah to usher in in the scene of high culture in an unparalleled elequence.

--The one---


At first glance, this is

by I hate gossip (not verified) on

At first glance, this is just crap. But at the core it's a question of values. We won't have a place to move on to if we don't have clear values. Iran is where it is, precisely because of unclear values. This is not Javid Shah or Marg bar Shah, it's the question of cultural decensy and honesty. What I say is let's celebrate a part of our history that has done how it knew best to move a country that would have otherwise been similar to today's Afghanistan to a place where despite 30 years of theocracy there is still hope of a reasonable future. I am not saying Pahlavis were the perfect rulers, but am acknowledging their contributions. They had shortcomings too. My Javid Shah and somebody else's marg bar shah is history. You can not move on until you know where you came from and where you are now.


Javid Shah, Margh bar Shah

by Javadagha on

Javid Shah, Margh bar Shah....,

Enough of this crap... we need to move on....


How is it that they did not

by I hate Gossip (not verified) on

How is it that they did not TOLERATE? The people marched in the streets and said we prefer a clergyman with medieval ideas. They said OK and left. The fact that they ended up in another country is yet another testament to how forward they were for that region. Did you not see Sadam, or Mosharaf, or even the government in Turkey and Egypt? Would Mobarak or Mosharaf or the Saudis ever leave? They would just crush opposition. Or throw the clergymen in the sea as Ataturk did. What Pahlavis did is far more than what the IR or any other dynasty in Iran has done. I guess they were gulity of trying to not tolerate some backwards superstitious thinking. Please don't make the revolution into something it never was. The masses screaming were not after freedom of expression or gender equality. They wanted a mullah, and possibly the promised even more free polo.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

If Farah and her husband were "so cultured" and "ahead of iran"

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

why couldn't they tolerate BASIC expression? Stupid expression ? It's called feeling threatened and weak. They were so ahead. HA! So ahead they ended up in another country. Good for them. Hooray for the Pahlavi family and their fancy cultured ways. Poor them :(


First, I agree with

by I hate gossip (not verified) on

First, I agree with Fatollah. Iran and it's people have continued to prove that they did not deserve/were not ready for the Pahlavis and in particular someone like Farah. Here we have a woman who was reared in an abundance of culture and art who thought she led a population which shared a similar enthusiasm for modernity and progress. Alas, majority of Iranians suffer from a multitude of cultural complexes and will not understand artistic freedom. Case in point, Farah Rusta! Ms. Rusta, first, art is a product of free expression. One of the problems with Iranians is that they always want everything, but they want it contained in a box. You can not have freedom of expression but then define suffocating boundaries for it. Secondly, the orgies of the artists (behind closed doors, because I never saw any of them), has nothing to do with their products. Incidently, orgies were not invented by Farah. They existed before Farah, and continue to exist even now in Iran, and will continue to exist centuries from now. Secondly, please stop with this post-revolutionary gossip mania to make all sort of BS. How do you know there were orgies going on? You are not qualified to label someone with it unless you were part of one yourself, in which case you would become a hypocrit because you participated in one and now saying that it was bad for Farah to support them.
So, please stop your nonesense, look back at the devestating and embarrasing history of our country and our countrymen and acknowledge that the only government, which made a historic change in Iran was the Pahlavi government. They made mistakes, but again, let's grow up and start by acknowledging all the good they did alongside their shortcomings.


By the way Farah Rusta Khanoum!

by Fatollah (not verified) on

I don't think Iran deserved her, especially Iranian women!

why do you allude to have access to privileged information? which I think you don't! Are you suggesting that she was an agnet for the British? Oh, no! she studied in France, therefore she must have been a French spy since his Majesty's doctors also were French!

One day it is Shah's twin sister, another day, another memeber of the Royal family and now it is the Empress herself!

What the hell are you insinuating here, lady!?

Get some help!


Farah Rusta

by Fatollah (not verified) on

I am really! sorry if you feel that way! But, then again everybody is entitled to their opinion.