—by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural
Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 11/16/17 – Bobak Kalhor documents the fall of Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (“the king of kings”) in A DYING KING: THE SHAH OF IRAN. This 82-minute geopolitical feature film was launched at a red carpet by invitation only event on the evening of Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 at Laemmle’s Music Hall Theater located at 9036 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Three surviving hostages from the American embassy siege of 1979 in Tehran (introduced by Roger Clark as “guests of the Ayatollah”) were in attendance.
A DYING KING: THE SHAH OF IRAN marks Kalhor’s directorial debut. It is distributed by CARU Pictures and Vision Films.
The film examines one of the most pivotal moments in the history of the Middle East: January 16th, 1979, the day Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his family left Iran under great duress. Fourteen days later Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of the Islamic Revolution, returned after 15 years of exile and took control of Iran.
Pahlavi traveled to several countries (Egypt, Morocco, Bahamas, Mexico, Panama) before and after entering the United States under asylum on October 22nd, 1979 for medical treatment of cancer. In Tehran, Islamic militants responded by storming the US embassy on November 4th.
With Khomeini’s approval, the militants demanded the return of the deposed shah to Iran to stand trial for his crimes. The United States refused to negotiate despite repeated warnings from the Ayatollah under the Carter administration, and 52 American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days.
The hostages were formally released into US custody on January 20th, 1981 just minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the new US President. They were escorted back to the US from Germany by former President Jimmy Carter.
This stands as the longest hostage crisis in recorded history. It violated many principles of international law under which embassy compounds are to remain inviolable and diplomats are granted immunity from arrest. The economic sanctions the US later imposed against Iran further weakened ties between the two countries.
The 1979 revolution in Iran saw the overthrow of 2500 years of Persian monarchy and its last Shah. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini died on June 3rd, 1989 and was succeeded by Ali Khamenei, Iran’s current ruler, on June 4th.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi died in great secrecy on July 27th, 1980 in Egypt at the age of 60. Even then this proud man did not want to appear weak in the eyes of the world.
Pahlavi was a close Cold War ally of the United States later shunned in exile.
All of these events had profound consequences for the future of the Middle East and the West.
A DYING KING: THE SHAH OF IRAN contains first-person accounts from leading world-class physicians who treated Pahlavi. This riveting film unfolds like a medical whodunit worthy of Dame Agatha Christie.
The shah was examined and targeted by at least eight separate teams of international doctors. Repeated misdiagnoses and other disasters in a long chain caused even by celebrity surgeons immediately raise the matter of malpractice.
But was it accidental or deliberate? Inquiring minds all over the world still want to know!
The shah’s personal drama echoed through the last decade of the Cold War. The film’s director also had a voyage of self-discovery awaiting him as he retraced Pahlavi’s far-flung tracks.
“The comprehensive story surrounding the fall of the Pahlavi monarchy has yet to be accurately told,” claims Bobak Kalhor on the site for A DYING KING: THE SHAH OF IRAN. “This story is OUR story!” the Iranian-American emigre reiterated at the Wednesday night film event to an audience filled with successful Iranian and American medical professionals and other leaders in their fields. Joining him on the panel were Roger Clark, Dr. Shirin Towfigh, and others involved with the film project.
Kalhor’s career as a real estate broker helped to generate the funds for A DYING KING: THE SHAH OF IRAN. In his spare time he hosted a political and medical show on Radio Iran KIRN 670 AM in Simi Valley.
A DYING KING: THE SHAH OF IRAN represents seven years of “chasing shadows” concerning the Shah’s fatal illness in its turbulent historical context. “I hope, someday, the future will afford us a chance to tell the rest,” said Kalhor.
We at THT hope so too! Please visit this link for more information about A DYING KING: THE SHAH OF IRAN and many videotaped interviews:
A final note: Today’s still-tense relations between the US and Iran were highlighted in the media by the decade-long Iranian nuclear negotiation ending in 2015 that US President Donald Trump now wants to revisit. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has met with counterparts from the other countries that brokered the deal — China, Britain, France, Germany, and Russia — as well as Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Tillerson has confirmed that the Trump administration still wants to redo the nuclear deal. “Fix it or nix it,” agreed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
President Emmanuel Macron of France indicated openness to renegotiation with Iran after meeting with President Trump and said he favored an open discussion with Iran about the current situation in the region. But this Sunday Iran rejected Macron’s call for talks on Tehran’s ballistic missiles, saying they were defensive and unrelated to a nuclear agreement with world powers.
So the tensions between Iran and the Western world continue! A DYING KING: THE SHAH OF IRAN thus serves as a timely pre-history lesson for many of us in the 21st century.
“We’re heading into possible military conflict with a country we don’t understand!” insists Bobak Kalhor. A DYING KING:THE SHAH OF IRAN might fill in some of the vital missing pieces for concerned citizens all over this planet now poised on the brink of apocalyptic war in an unraveling world.