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‘Royal Mummy’ Buried Before Proper Forensic Identification, Says Official

Iran--Mummified body found
Iran--Mummified body found

Iran’s Forensic Medicine Organization, part of the Iranian Judiciary, says authorities did not give it a chance to identify a mummy that was unearthed at a Shrine in downtown Tehran in late April.

The official news agency IRNA on May 15 quoted the organization’s chairman Ahmad Shojaee as having said, “Forensics had made preparation to identify the body and the organization was in a position to do this quickly.”

Iranian media speculated in April that the body might belong to Reza Shah Pahlavi, the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, who is known for his efforts to modernize Iran at the turn of the 20th Century.

Local officials had characterized what was unearthed as part of “remains of the body of an ordinary man,” but media reports in Iran and abroad presented evidence linking the body to Reza Shah, whose monumental grave was destroyed by revolutionary Islamists in 1979.

Iran’s last crown prince, Reza Shah’s grandson Prince Reza Pahlavi said in an April 24 tweet that the body was “most likely” the monarch’s mummy.

Iranian archaeologists have said that the royal mummy is part of Iran’s cultural heritage and that it should be protected.

Many Iranians on social media also demanded decent re-burial and a monument in memory of the man who modernized Iran.

Reza Shah died in Johannesburg in 1944 where he lived in exile following his abdication in 1941. His mummified body was buried at the shrine in Tehran in 1950.

Thousands of Iranian demonstrators chanted slogans in praise of Reza Shah in January when millions took to the streets in more than 100 cities to protest political and economic discrimination and mismanagement.