Mehr Abad Journey  

She led the domestic reporter to a passenger vehicle which was parked in a hidden corner. Inside the car was the cameraman of the Ministry of Arts and Culture and a press officer from the Ministry of Court.

The car headed for Mehrabad. The question was that why the foreign journalists not included in this event coming to the airport? What has gone wrong that has caused the plan to be changed? The Ministry of Art and Culture reporter that seemed to be aware of the situation, replied that they had called from Mehrabad Airport, that His Majesty was not interested in seeing the foreign journalists and that there was to be no press conference either. Only one or two domestic reporter can come to the airport, he said. That's why we cancelled the plan. We are taking you to the airport to tape the Shahanshah's speech in the Royal Pavilion.

The car passed Eisenhower Avenue and left Shahyad square behind us it turned into the airport road. The airport had been surrounded by Javidan (Immortal) Guards personnel and special units of His Majesty's bodyguards. Mr. Safa Haeri was denied entry. He was a smart and experienced reporter who never loset an opportunity to hunt for news. Any reporter that made it to the airport on their own without coordination with the Ministry of Court, ran into the Imperial Guard's tight security ring.

The vehicle carrying Ministry of court reporters were allowed into the airport compound following search of their equipment. In front of the Royal Pavilion the Royal Majesties were about to come out.

Shahanshah was pacing back and forth as if he was awaiting someone. In fact His Majesty was awaiting Dr Bakhtiar's government's approval by the Majles. Somewhat the communication to Majles was cut off at the airport. They had to arrange helicopter bringing newly appointed Prime Minister to the Airport, who he had received a vote of confidence in the Majles.

The time was a few minutes past 10:30 AM. Her Majesty, the Shahbanou, was talking to His Majesty. The royal plane, a 727 aircraft called "Shahbaz" was on standby at the tarmac. At this moment General Gharabaghi (Chief of the Joint staff) approached His Majesty and offered him a pouch and exchanged a few words. the pouch, contained some "Dust of the Land" reporters were tolled later, The Shahanshah and the Shahbanou remained in the Royal Pavilion for about an hour waiting for Prime Minister Bakhtiar.

It was around 11 Am when Dr. Shapour Bakhtiar's helicopter landed at the airport. The Prime Minister rushed across the tarmac and entered the Royal Pavilion. He was followed by the late Dr. Javad Saeed, the head of the Majles. Inside, Dr. Bakhtiar bowed and kissed the Shahanshah's hand.

His Majesty asked him if he had received the vote of confidence? Dr. Bakhtiar replied, "Yes, Sir" The Shahanshah congratulated him. "We are leaving destiny of Iran in your capable hands" Shahanshah said to Bakhtiar. Soon afterwards, their Majesties proceeded to leave the Royal Pavilion. There was no farewell message by Shahanshah, he was intending to return in two or three months..

An officer who was a helicopter pilot broke rank and threw himself at His Majesty's feet, everyone paid their final farewells to the emperor. There was no guard of honor or the usual departure ceremonial

Dr. Bakhtiar, Javad Saeed, the speaker of the Majles, the speaker of the Senate, members of the Imperial Guard and the Imperial security personnel formed a ring around the Shahanshah and the Shahbanou to say goodbye.

One of the Imperial Guards holds a holy Koran above passing royals while they are approaching the royal plane. It was a very exciting and emotional moments.

Everyone was in a painful sadness. General Gharabaghi rushed to the Shahanshah asking in a loud voice how he should keep His Majesty informed of the military situation while he is traveling abroad.

His Majesty answered, "What reports? When I'm not here what reports do you want to give? You decide whatever is necessary."

Before stepping into the plane, the Shahanshah turned to Bakhtiar and said: "We have worked very hard to build up the Imperial Iranian Navy. Try not to cut anything from her annual budget."

General Gharabaghi followed Imperial passengers into inside the plane. He returned a few moments later. His Majesty was wearing his dark sunglasses and accompanied by the Shahbanou went inside the aircraft Although Colonel Moezi was the pilot but Shahanshah took the cockpit control.

It was one o'clock on that wintry afternoon on January 16th (26 Dey) when the royal plane took off from Tehran's Mehrabad airport.



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