Following the departure of the Shah on what has beer officially described as a holiday, but which many political observers believe is the prelude to permanent exile, Iran's political future is poised on a knife edge.
Following the departure of the Shah on what has beer officially described as a holiday, but which many political observers believe is the prelude to permanent exile, Iran's political future is poised on a knife edge. Exiled religious leader the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeiny has pledged himself to the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of an Islamic republic. In the meantime Prime Minister Shapur Bakhtiar is trying to hold his two-week old government together -- and on Wednesday (17 January) he warned that the country was "on the brink of an abyss after twenty five years of strangulation and corruption".
SYNOPSIS: On Tuesday (16 January) Dr. Bakhtiar addressed the Iranian parliament as the Shah boarded a royal airliner with his wife Empress Farah and flew to Egypt. The Prime Minister is believed to have persuaded the fifty-nine year old monarch that surrendering his near-absolute power was the only hope for saving his throne.
During wild celebrations following the Shah's departure two statues of him were pulled down and replaced with portraits of Ayatollah Khomeiny. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets -- dancing, singing and waving in triumph.
As the Shah's supporters in Teheran don't expect him to remain in permanent exile great pains are being taken to ensure that his sumptuous royal palace is kept in good order. On Wednesday some mourned outside the gates -- while newsmen were taken on a conducted tour of the royal apartments.
This private view showed that none of the Pahlavi dynasty riches had been removed and that the Shah had left his home intact. Most of the living areas were designed to suit the taste of both the Shah and his Empress. The luxury in which they lived is apparent -- their private cinema was as big as some in the West End of London. And only the best in grand pianos was suitable for the Peacock Throne.