According to official Iranian media reports, Ardeshir Zahedi was the gorgeous ambassador to the United States during the reign of the Iranian King. He attracted Hollywood stars and politicians with his extravagant parties before the Islamic Revolution in 1979. Passed away on Thursday at the age of 93.
Whether it’s with Henry Kissinger or entertaining Barbra Streisand, Zahedi’s social occasions in Washington have left such an unforgettable impression that one A newspaper called him the “playboy of the Western world” and the “most popular bachelor” in the capital. He has a romantic connection with Elizabeth Taylor.
But with the outbreak of the revolution, the terminally ill Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi fled the country. The Iranian Embassy in Washington once held a raucous party for Zahdi and remained empty for the next 40 years. The revolution swept across the country and established the Islamic theocracy that rules the country today.
“Iran and the United States need and still need each other, and it is in their interest to seek a new and constructive approach in their relationship,” Zahdi wrote in Switzerland in 2020, where he eventually settled. “The government needs to be prepared to make sacrifices, show goodwill, remove man-made obstacles, and prove their sincerity and desire for reconciliation.”
The Iranian state-run IRNA news agency attributed Zahedi’s death to “old age” but did not elaborate. Other semi-official news organizations in Iran and the Persian service of the BBC stated that he was recently ill, but did not elaborate.
Zahedi is the son of General Fazlollah Zahedi. He came to power in the 1953 CIA-supported coup against the country’s elected prime minister, which consolidated the rule of the young king. For those who later overthrew the king and attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, that coup represented the original sin of the United States and led to the enmity of the ensuing four decades.
Zahedi will marry Shahnaz, the king’s first daughter. Although the marriage lasted only seven years, the king believed that Zahdi was another son and a trusted adviser. Zahdi will serve as ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom and Iran’s foreign minister before returning to Washington as the king’s supreme diplomat there.
At that time, the king quickly realized the modernization of the country with his rich oil wealth and expanded his army with weapons made by the United States. The United States regarded him as a bastion against the Soviet Union and set up secret monitoring stations in Iran to monitor its Cold War enemies.
Zahedi was single again and returned to Washington, devoting himself to social occasions in the capital. Barbara Walters wrote in her memoirs that the Iranian Embassy was called “the first luxurious embassy.” The guests chewed caviar and champagne.
However, during the gathering, Zahdi maintained close relations with the Nixon and Carter administrations. Together with the ambassadors of Egypt and Pakistan, he helped resolve the hostage crisis in Washington in 1977. Two of them were killed and more than 140 prisoners were released.
However, as his country became more and more turbulent, and the king both limited all dissent and hesitated, he felt more and more isolated and eventually fled. His departure and the subsequent month of revolution ended the 2500-year monarchy of Persia.
However, despite facing the death penalty at home and later settled in Switzerland, Zahdi admitted to the dilemma that led to the revolution and promoted reconciliation between Iran and the United States, even though the recent breakdown of the nuclear agreement between Tehran and the world powers led to tensions. He refuted President Trump’s extremist campaign against Tehran, saying it was “a pressure strategy wrapped in belligerence, folded in an illusion.”
Zahdi wrote in 2019: “It lacks a viable vision and is based on a naive assumption that the overthrow of the Islamic Republic will miraculously lead to a pluralistic and pro-American order.”
The Iranian Embassy, which had fascinated so many people for him, is still empty and has become Props in online videos in 2019 Brian Hooker, former U.S. special representative for Iran.
Hook said: “We look forward to the day when we can return the key to the embassy to a truly representative Iranian government whose motive is not out of hatred and outdated revolutionary ideology, but out of greatness. The interests and wishes of the Iranian people.” Hook said in the video that the furniture and carpets in the embassy are stored in temperature-controlled warehouses.
However, Zahdi’s wine cellar did not survive the revolution because the representative of the Islamic Republic who briefly took charge of the embassy dumped more than 4,000 bottles of Scotch whiskey, champagne and other beverages into the sewers.
“It takes four hours for continuous pouring to dispose of all the alcohol,” a publication of the embassy said at the time.