Where do you want to go?
— Don Aggar, former U.S. Assistant
Secretary of Transportation
Before retiring from the British House of Commons, I paid a visit to the young man who as crown prince of Iran I vainly had hoped might play a part in the shift to a constitutional monarchy, before the roof fell in on the Shah.
Reza Pahlavi had recently completed his training as a fighter pilot in America. I met him as he was “contemplating his future,” as he put it in a spacious villa surrounded by date palms and jacaranda trees overlooking the surf on the faraway coast of Morocco, south of Casablanca. It was many years since I had seen his picture in the Shah’s office, as a child in Farah Diba’s arms. Now in his late twenties, Reza was slim and good looking in a well-cut Saville row pinstriped suit as he offered drinks on his patio, followed by lunch with loup de mer (small mouth bass) and over iced Pouilly Fuisse. As a host, he was, like most Persians, superb—but it was his retrospective narrative of his father’s sojourn in Morocco when he was expecting to go to America that still lingers most hauntingly in my mind.
Looking back across the years Reza Pahlavi quietly confirmed that the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan had all been asked by the U.S. to give the Shah asylum. All refused. South Africa still subject to apartheid, and Paraguay ruled by South America’s most detested dictator agreed to admit him but the Shah rejected both. The pressure then increased when his host King Hassan was advised that the 1979 Arab League summit that Morocco was scheduled to chair might be