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Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 15:41 GMT 16:41 UK
Shah's daughter 'could not stand' exile
The shah of Iran, with his wife, former Empress Farah, and sons Ali Reza, left, Crown Prince Reza, right and Leila, front
The shah and his family were driven out of Iran in 1979
Iranian Princess Leila Pahlavi, who died in London on Sunday, was the youngest daughter of the Iranian royal family which has been living in exile since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

Her mother, the former empress Farah Pahlavi, issued a statement in Paris on Monday evening saying the princess died in her sleep and that she had been "very depressed".

Farah Pahlavi, the former Queen of Iran
Farah Pahlavi: Lives in Paris
She said her daughter "could not stand living far from Iran and shared wholeheartedly the suffering of her countrymen".

Dr Mehrdad Khonsari, the leader of the Constitutionalist Movement of Iran in London, said the princess had been suffering from depression for a number of years, and the large amounts of medication had adversely affected her health.

The shah

The late Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, ruled Iran from 1941 to 1979, except for a brief period in 1953 when Prime Minister Muhammed Mosaddeq overthrew him.

The shah was forced to flee Iran in January 1979 after the turmoil which led to the Shia spiritiual leader Ayatollah Khomeini returning to Iran and declaring an Islamic republic.

The shah took his family to Egypt, Morocco, the Bahamas, and Mexico before entering the United States in 1979 for treatment of his lymphatic cancer.

Iranian militants then seized the US embassy in Tehran, taking more than 50 American hostages and demanding the shah's extradition.

Although extradition was refused, the shah left for Panama and then for Cairo where he died in 1980.

Funeral in Paris

Princess Leila Pahlavi
Leila Pahlavi: Suffered from depression
His youngest daughter, Leila, is expected to be buried in Paris next to her grandmother, Farideh Diba, who died last November.

"She was very close to her grandmother, who practically raised her after her father died," Mr Khonsari said.

The immediate Iranian royal family now consists of the former queen, Farah, two sons, Reza and Ali Reza, a daughter, Farahnaz, and and the princess's half sister, Shahnaz.

Crown prince

The former crown prince Reza Pahlavi, born in 1960, hopes to return to Iran one day as shah.

In 1979, when his father was driven out of Iran, Reza was in Texas, completing his air force training at the former Reese air force base.

After living in Egypt and Morocco for a number of years, he moved to a Washington DC suburb in Maryland in 1984, where he continues to live with his wife and two daughters.

The late Shah Reza of Iran
The shah died in 1980
The former crown prince has been very politically active, hoping to return one day to a democratic Iran, according to his official website.

"I envision an Iran wherein its prosperous economy gives every Iranian an equal chance for hope and opportunity," he writes.

He says he believes women should have full political, socio-economic and cultural equality, the press should be free and there should be a separation of religion and state.

"Finally, the Iran of tomorrow ought to have a foreign policy based on principles of harmony and mutual respect," he says.

Family in New York

The late princess's sister, Farahnaz, 38, is not married and currently residing in New York, as is their brother, Ali Reza, 35, who has recently completed his PhD there.

Their half-sister, Shahnaz Pahlavi, born to the Shah's first wife in 1940, currently resides in Switzerland.

The princess's mother, the former empress, has spent the majority of the past few years in Paris, but also has an apartment in New York, close to her children, Mr Khonsari said.

The entire family is expected to gather in Paris for Leila's funeral.

Iranian media

Mr Khonsari said his office in London received about 200 phone calls on Monday, from Iranians in London and around the world, expressing condolences and inquiring about the circumstances of the princess's death.

The BBC's correspondent in Tehran, Jim Muir, said the news of the princess's death has not been reported by the local media.

He said that royalists in Tehran have heard about the princess's death from foreign media sources and are saddened, but that in general, there is not much awareness of the princess's fate.

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See also:

12 Jun 01 | UK
Shah's daughter found dead
02 Feb 00 | Middle East
Iran's century of upheaval
11 Jun 01 | Middle East
Timeline: Iran
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