Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the late Mohammad Reza Shah, the last shah of Iran, says a mummified body recently found near a religious shrine in Shahr, south of the Iranian capital is "most probably" that of his grandfather Reza Shah Pahlavi.
"From the first moments after hearing the news of the discovery of a body in Shahr Rey, at the site of the destroyed mausoleum of Reza Shah, my family and I have been collecting and assessing additional information in an effort to verify reports. After further evaluation, we believe that this body most probably belongs to my grandfather, Reza Shah," Pahlavi said in an April 24 statement.
Reza Shah had been buried near the shrine where the mummy was found.
The head of the cultural heritage and tourism committee at Tehran’s city council had said that it was “possible” that the mummified body was that of Reza Shah. But a shrine spokesman had denied the reports as “rumors.”
U.S.-based Reza Pahlavi called on Iranian authorities to give his family access to the body "through medical doctors and scientific experts trusted and selected by us, for verification and assurance of proper burial."
"This matter is not merely of a personal or familial nature; rather, it carries significant cultural and historical significance as Reza Shah belongs to all Iranians," the statement said.
Reza Shah, who was forced to abdicate in favor of his son in 1941, died in South Africa in 1944. His body was taken to Cairo, mummified, and later brought back to Iran and laid at a mausoleum near the shrine in Shahr.
The mausoleum was destroyed following the 1979 revolution that deposed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi -- Reza Shah's son and the last shah of Iran.
Reza Shah is credited with being a modernizing force in Iran.