Below is a brief passage that discusses a time I got to interact with Royalty. Now in Iran that can be either very good or very bad and you’ll just have to read below to find out which it was:
At the end of summer, our peaceful family life was shattered by a phone call from the office of her Royal Highness Princess Ashraf, the twin sister of the Shah. I was surprised and shocked to be told that I had to go to see the Princess’s viceroy, Mr. Ansari. When I asked the reason, the caller said it was not possible to say and they could only give me an appointment. My mind reeled. Who dares not to go? My heart was beating wildly, especially since I did not know why I was being summoned.
Princess Ashraf was known to be a person to be taken seriously and to be disobeyed at one’s peril. Fortunately, I had heard that her viceroy, who was a former minister of internal affairs, was an excellent administrator and more rational, and easier to work with. Anyway, on the day of my appointment, I drove to his office in downtown Tehran, not an easy task to drive such a distance when I was eight and a half months pregnant. At that time I really was looking very large, much bigger than the first pregnancy. It seemed to me that baby boys were heavier than baby girls. I arrived on time, and the secretary immediately led me to the office of Mr. Ansari. He was a very polite man, graying slightly, and he received me with a smile. My heart was beating hard as he stared at me and my appearance. I sat across from him, and he began by inquiring about one of my cousins—Kouros whom he knew very well because he used to work with him. After establishing this family connection, he began to explain to me that he had good news for me. He said that Princess Ashraf, as the honorary president of the Women’s Organization, had ordered all university human resource departments in Iran to send all personnel files of women professors to her office for review. After reviewing these files, she had selected me for the position of secretary-general of the Women’s Organization. She herself would serve as honorary president. I am sure that he expected to see an expression of happy acceptance from me, but I was quiet while I recovered my wits. Then I said, “May I ask what was the princess’s criteria for selecting me?” He replied, “Your education, background, and achievement.”
The princess wanted to reorganize the Women’s Organization. She wanted the women of Iran to understand and value the rights that her brother the Shahanshah had given them. And since I had studied psychology, she thought that I could educate and change the behavior of women. It was a shock for me to think of taking on this enormous ￼responsibility, especially in connection with my beliefs and my own situation within my family. In my ideal and independent life, I did not want to accept any administrative position. I was not involved or active in any women’s organization—just the opposite. I was fighting for the social justice, for the equal role of women as human beings just like men, within a family setting or in society, and not in a separate setting. In addition, I had another issue to think of, my responsibility toward my new baby and my family. So I thanked Mr. Ansari for the honor of selecting me and requested that he kindly ask the Princess to excuse me from the job because of my pregnancy. I added that I would instead volunteer to help the Women’s Organization as consultant, especially in combating illiteracy in women. I told him I already worked in the Charity Organization of the Shahbanou. After several arguments back and forth, Mr. Ansari, finally agreed to discuss the matter with the princess and maybe to excuse me from this position. It was a long meeting, and I became very tired, but I was relieved to think that hopefully Princess Ashraf would not press the appointment in view of my reluctance.
TO read more follow up with Chapter 11 in my book.