RED PRINCESS: Constitutionalist Blasts BBC Persian For Left Wing Bias towards Pahlavi Rule


RED PRINCESS: Constitutionalist Blasts BBC Persian For Left Wing Bias towards Pahlavi Rule
by Darius Kadivar

Khosrow Fravahar a Constitutionalist from Austria criticizes what he deems is BBC Persian’s bias towards Pahlavi rule and it’s subtle endorsement of Left Wing Icon Maryam Firouz better known as Princess Maryam Farman Farmaian (1914TehranIran – 23 March 2008).

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed in this program (as well as critics towards the people mentioned) are those of Khosrow Fravahar and don’t necessarily reflect my views.


Khosrow Fravahar Criticizes BBC Persian’s Program Aparat :


Maryam Firouz Hails Khomeiny and Revolution for uprooting the Monarchy:







Maryam Firouz or Princess Maryam Farman Farmaian (1914 TehranIran – 23 March 2008) was a daughter of Prince Abdol Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma and Batoul Khanoum. She founded the women's section of the Tudeh(communist) party in Iran. ( More on Her Here)


APARAT Full BBC Documentary on Maryam Firouz by Mohamad Hussein Damandzan with guests film critic Ali Amini and Journalist Massoud Behnoud:









Debate on British Channel 4 on Iran’s Post Election Protests in 2009 :








Bloggers Note : Haleh Afshar, Baroness Afshar OBE (born 21 May 1944) is a British professor and a life peer in theHouse of Lords. She is a prominent Muslim feminist, and characterises herself as a Socialist and a Shi'a Muslim. (MoreHere)


Iranian feminist, she was a key member of the communist Tudeh party and went to jail by Haleh Afshar (Monday 31 March 2008)


The following apology was printed in the Guardian's Corrections and clarifications column, Wednesday April 23 2008

In the following obituary of Maryam Firouz we said her daughter Afsar had predeceased her. That is not the case. Apologies. This has been corrected.

Princess Maryam Firouz Farman Farmayan, who has died aged 94, was one of the last surviving members of the early and mid-20th century political feminist movement in Iran. The daughter of Prince Abdol Hossein Mirza Farman Farmayan and Batoul Khanoum, Maryam Firouz was born in the provincial city of Kermanshah and was educated in Tehran at the French school, école Jean d'Arc.

When she was 16 her father arranged her marriage to Colonel Abasali Esfandiary, an aristocrat, a graduate of Saint-Cyr, the French military academy, and son of the speaker of the Iranian parliament. The marriage lasted 10 years and they had two daughters. Out of respect for her father, the couple waited until his death before their amicable divorce.

By then it was the 1940s, and Maryam, embarking on an intellectual quest that was to have a lasting impact on her life, began to move towards communism, to the dismay of much of her family. Her conviction led her to disown the family name, Farman Farmayan, as too aristocratic for her Marxist ideals, and she adopted her grandfather's name, Firouz, as her surname.

In the early 40s she joined the communist Tudeh (people's) party, which had been founded in 1941, a move that attracted huge media attention and she was dubbed the "Red Princess". She then married the architect Noureddin Kianouri, another upper-class radical, who had been trained in Germany, and taught at Tehran University. In 1945 he became a member of the party's central committee.

Maryam meanwhile was one of the founder members of the Tudeh women's organisation - the party having initially banned women members. She was also a famous hostess; she opened her drawing-room, very much in the French tradition of literary salons, and entertained artists and intellectuals. Her circle included the authors Sadeq Hedayat and Bozorgheh Alavi and the poet Fereydoun Tavalloli. Maryam was also connected to left-leaning members of the higher echelons of the armed forces, through her close friendship with Captain Khosrow Rousbeh, one of the founders of an informal Tudeh network in the army. Rousbeh was to be executed in 1958 by the Shah's government.

In 1950, that government was under attack for its handling of negotiations with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company - later British Petroleum. In April that year the secular nationalist, Mohammad Mossadegh, a cousin of Maryam, became prime minister. Mossadegh was committed to oil nationalisation, which triggered a crisis with the British. Maryam, by then part of politics at the highest level, was said to have been involved in the 1953 revolution that led to the brief departure of the Shah.

An Anglo-American-backed coup, Operation Ajax, toppled Mossadegh in August 1953, the Shah returned, the Tudeh party was banned, Mossadegh was arrested and Maryam and her husband went into hiding. It was the end of an era of optimism which was to have serious long-term implications for Iran - and for Maryam and her husband.

After three years the couple went into exile in eastern Europe. She continued her activities, working with Iranian women abroad and at the same time obtained a doctorate in French language and literature. She worked as a university lecturer, teaching French in East Berlin and Leipzig. These resulted, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, in two trials in her absence in Iran. The first sentenced her to five years' hard labour and the second to life with hard labour.

After the 1979 Islamic revolution, which brought Ayatollah Khomeini to power, Maryam and her husband returned to Iran. He was by then general secretary of the Tudeh party and during that short period, when the party was permitted to function, she headed the Iran Democratic Women's Organisation.

In February 1983 Maryam, who was then 70, and her husband were imprisoned, and Kianouri was accused of spying for the Soviet Union. That April the party was banned and many of its members were executed. Maryam was kept in solitary confinement and fell ill. The severity of her illness eventually led to her release to house arrest. She rented a house with her daughter Afsaneh and lived on her German pension. A year later, her husband was allowed to join them, on the understanding that he would never speak to the media. In an open letter to Khomeini, Kianouri recorded a horrific catalogue of maltreatment and tortures meted out to him and his wife during their imprisonment. His death in 1990 was a sad blow to Maryam, whose health deteriorated.

But Maryam never lost her interest in politics and women's issues. She devoured the papers and the few visitors, who were permitted to see her, provided her with gossip and the information that Iran's press could not publish.

Maryam died in Tehran. She is survived by Afsaneh and her other daughter Afsar.

· Maryam Firouz (Princess Maryam Firouz Farman Farmayan), political activist, born 1914; died March 23 2008



Recommended Reading:

HAIL BARONESS AFSHAR!: First Iranian Woman In the House of Lords by Darius KADIVAR


Other Blogs on Khosro Fravahar:

Constitutionalist Khosro Fravahar Responds to Bahram Moshiri’s Assessments on Pahlavi Rule

Constitutionalist activist debates with Green activist Omid Dana On RP 2's Leadership

Young Constitutionalist Explains why he Favors Monarchies over Republics


Constitutionalist's Critics of Shamlou's deemed 'Insults' towards Ferdowsi's Shahnameh

Related ‘Critical Outlook’ Blogs:

Shadi Sadre's Rebuttal of Massoud Behnoud's Endorsement of IRI Constitution

The Exiled Iranian Jomhurykhah's Lesson On Democracy

COMPLAINING JOMHURYKHAH: What Have the Pahlavis EVER Done For Us ? ;0)

Banisadr On Risks and Conditions Of Seeing Reza Pahlavi Restored

SHEKAYAT KOJA ? Akbar Ganji say's Iran has less than 1000 Political Prisoners

DEVIL's ADVOCATE: Mir-Hossein Mousavi 'involved in massacre', says report

DEATH - VERTISING ? Mehrangiz Kar Claims Husband was No More a Monarchist

GUNFIGHT AT OK CORRAL: Co-Starring Fakhravar & Batebi ?

LOST IN TRANSLATION: NIAC Welcomes Hamid Dabashi on Advisory Board

COLUMBIA PRESENTS: Academic Excellence With Hamid Dabashi & Sadri Bros

WOMEN KNOW YOUR LIMITS: The Shah's Post Mortem Apologies to Barbara Walters and Oriana Fallaci

FINALLY GETTING IT RIGHT: Shirin Ebadi say's "I Don't believe in an Islamic Declaration of Human Rights"

IRANICAN MOFTKHOR: From a 1/2 "Pahlawi" EYE-RANIAN Coin to why people resist new theories (sic)

Ebrahim Golestan: "The Shah's Coronation Made Me Wanna Vomit" (BBC)

SATIRE: The Burqa Republic of Our IRANICAN Dreams ;0)


more from Darius Kadivar

The Shahollahi dogma!

by Arj on

And they call PMOI a cult! These pathetic losers live in a dream world in which it's still 2570 "shahanshahi" whose "leader" is RP and the Pahlavi family! Although their viewers don't need much proof for the BS that's thrown at them (much like the FOX NEWS viewers), but evidently rewriting history is an integral part of programs of this nature!

Not unlike IRI's ideologues, the slef-centered, self-righteous Shahollahis try to turn their opposition into one-dimentional caricatures! Hence, Maryam Firooz is seen by Shahollahis as merely "Tudehi" and "Ghajar princess" (the two ultimate taboos in their book)! Any other aspect of Ms. Firooz's life and personality (such as her significant role in Iran's early civil society and women's rights movement...) is therefore obscured by that dogma, for there's only, and only one women's rights movement and that's under his majesty's "white revolution!" A kind of like how Koran covers everything for Islamists! How pathetic!


Proud of her !!!

by radius-of-the-persian-cat on

Thanks Darius for this fine article.  I know that hardly anybody will share my opinion, but I very much appreciate the braveness of Maryam Firouz. I think that she and many others of her political circles were very idealistic, but they never tried the easy way and become part of the establishment. They were just convinced that their people (or the entire mankind) deserves to be liberated. It is easy to condemn their attitude from our todays perspective, with all the knowledge that we have about the easy transformation from a messias of liberation to a dictatorship. 

Still I feel some pride to know that your "Red Princess" tought at two Universities in East Germany were I had the pleasure to study (30 years later).  

Siamak Asadian

Shah tried to "Out Red" the "Reds" by his Hezb Rastakhiz,

by Siamak Asadian on

Establishing a Single-Party state in Iran which ultimately lead to where we are today.

It's amazing that for all you Pahalvi apologists, not a single one of you ever mentions Rastakhiz. Talk about selective amnesia. Now, that not lol, it's just pathetic. As is the usual case with the monarchis bunch. Cheers


One point

by JustAnIranian on

The woman is dead and gone.

But I just want to make one point here: Ghajar dynasty - apparently - is huge. My family are related to them as well - BUT big supporters of the Pahlavi's.

I love and respect the Pahlavi's. So please don't pull all of us into this - including me.

This beast of a woman does not represent all Ghajars.

Even the Farmanfarmians themselves are very diverse. 

Darius Kadivar

FYI/Peter Sissons:Leftwing bias in BBC's Very DNA (Daily Mail)

by Darius Kadivar on


I have tendecy to agree with anglophile

by Azarbanoo on

His comment makes sense & very logical of these rich fuedal kids.


When the rich kids revolt!!!

by anglophile on

The saddest and the most fraudulant aspect of the leading opposition figures to the Pahlavis was that they were largely coming from wealthy, land owning, fuedal, tribal and corrupt families. From the Tuden party founder, Eskandari, down to Firooz, to Mossadegh and many more were raised in the same anti-socialist and and despotic society that they were pretending to fight against AND they were still benefiting from their past connections and financial supports. As for the BBC Persian staff suffice it to say that: 
=  Bring Back Communism 

Darius Kadivar

FYI/ Book Mentioned in program by Khosrow Fravahar

by Darius Kadivar on

The passages read by Khosrow Fravahar in his program are from the following book:


Blood and Oil:: Memoirs of a Persian Prince by Manuchehr Farmanfarmaian