Reza Pahlavi was born in Tehran, Iran on October 31, 1960 as the heir to the late Mohammad Reza Shah of Iran and Empress Farah Pahlavi of Iran. He was officially named Crown Prince in 1967 at the time of his father’s coronation. In 1978, at the age of 17, he left Iran for jet fighter training in the United States Air Force at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas. During this same period, the building unrest in Iran led to the royal family’s departure in January 1979. And, during the instability that followed, the Government of Iran was taken over by Islamists. The Islamists established a theocratic regime, preventing Reza Pahlavi’s return to his homeland.
Reza Pahlavi completed the United States Air Force Training Program. During his first exile years, he continued and completed his higher education with a degree in political science from the University of Southern California. As an accomplished jet fighter pilot, Reza Pahlavi volunteered to serve his country’s military as a fighter pilot during the Iran-Iraq War, but was declined by the clerical regime.
Despite being forced to live in exile, Reza Pahlavi’s commitment and patriotic duty to Iran endures. For more than four decades, Reza Pahlavi has been a leader and advocate of the principles of freedom, democracy and human rights for his countrymen. He maintains constant contact with his compatriots and opposition groups, both inside and outside the country. He travels the world meeting with heads of state, legislators, policy-makers, interest groups and student groups speaking about the plight of Iranians under the Islamic regime in Iran. He consistently speaks out against the widespread abuse and oppression of the Iranian people and calls for the establishment of a secular democracy in Iran. He calls for regime change through nonviolent civil disobedience, and for a free and open referendum on a new government of Iran.