ICHTO Official Urges Keeping Iran’s Heritage Site in Mauritius
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A senior official at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) urged the country’s administration to not sell a previous residence of Reza Shah Pahlavi on the African island-state of Mauritius.
Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency, Farhad Nazari pointed to the Foreign Ministry’s plan to sell Valery Palace in Mauritius, the residence of Reza Shah who was forced to abdicate the throne by the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran in 1941, and said any “historical signs” of Iran anywhere in the world should be preserved.
The Valery Palace is among such historical sings and it would be desirable to protect the heritage site, the ICHTO official added.
In a recent proposal delivered to President Hassan Rouhani, the Foreign Ministry has asked the administration’s approval for selling three estates in other countries owned by Iran, including the Valery Palace.
The founder of Pahlavi royal dynasty, Reza Shah (who ruled from 1925 to 1941), stayed at Valery Palace in Mauritius for a few months after being exiled under the pressure from British forces who had occupied Iran alongside the Red Army.
Reza Shah expected to spend his last days in Bombay (now Mumbai) in then British India. However, British authorities in Bombay did not allow him and his entourage to disembark. Instead, they were sent to Mauritius, an island unknown to the exiled king.
Accompanied by several members of his family, his personal secretary, and servants, the exiled king was forced to stay in Mauritius to await a license to travel to Durban and finally to Johannesburg in South Africa.
Now, 77 years later, the Islamic Republic’s Foreign Ministry has proposed selling the residence, ostensibly to get an unused property off the balance sheets.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has also proposed selling Iranian embassy buildings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Lagos, Nigeria, and reinvesting the proceeds to build new ones, according to media reports.