Midnight of The Shah

Creator: Ilham Rahimov
Age rating: Everyone
Protagonist Rustam Kerimi is fictitious character. As a young teacher and good expert of ancient arts he found himself in the epicenter of those complicated historical processes .
Synopsis: Midnight of the Shah (synopsis)
Assassination of the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is in planning.
It is later carried out by a terrorist Nasser Fahraray.
By stroke of luck the attack fails. Shah is lightly wounded and Fahraray killed by his bodyguards.
Shah demands from his security chief, Colonel Muhtadir Ikrami, to conduct thorough investigation of the case resulted in a near miss.
Suspicions have been raised concerning the involvement of the USSR secret service.
Ikrami calls for a meeting with a member of Soviet embassy stuff, Rustam Kerimi (fictitious character). A former subject to Persia, son of a wealthy Iranian businessman, Azerbaijanian Rustam Kerimi, was forced to flee from Persia to Baku (Soviet Azerbaijan) a while back, when he was decreased by the founder of Pahlavi dynasty. Rustam dismisses Ikrami’s accusations and puts forward his own version of what could have happened.
In a short while assassination of Prime minister of Iran, Ali Razmara, takes place. He was killed by a member of "Fedayeen of Islam" terrorist group Kahlil Tahmasebi. Tahmasebi was apprehended before he could commit suicide. Tahmasebi has acted under direct instructions from the leader of "Fedayeen of Islam" Nawab Safavi. Police starts looking for Safavi and he is eventually caught when he tries to escape disguised under a woman dress.
Vacant position of the Prime Minister is taken by Mohammed Mossadeq. The latter is a sworn enemy of Pahlavi. Besides political differences the root of that lies in some tragic events in Mossadeq’s life.
The country is inflamed by anti-British sentiments. Mossadeq is trying to end the rule of Pahlavi dynasty. Iran becomes an open battleground of secret services from the USA, Britain and the Soviet Union, fighting for influence.
Kerimi summoned to Moscow. KGB officer Jacov Privolnov orders Rustam to make contact with the sister of the Shah of Iran, Princess Ashraf Pahlavi. Kerimi has met her previously in early 40s when he had just started working in the Soviet embassy. The meeting takes place at Paris residence of Ashraf. However, she doesn’t trust the Soviet Union officials and has no wish to interfere in political life of Iran.

Kermit Roosevelt enters the scene. Head of Middle Eastern Division of the CIA, the grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, he is plotting to overthrow Mossadeq, along with Donald Wilber, Aminollah Safarjian and Ardeshir Zahedi.
It is essential for the operation that Shah agrees to sign firmans (decree), drawn by the coup plotters, to dismiss Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq and to appoint General Fazlolaha Zahedi (Ardeshir Zahedi’s father) to that position. Shah does not trust the plotters enough and refuses to sign those firmans at first.
Safarjian travels to France to speak with Princess Ashraf. He wants her to persuade the Shah to ratify the firmans. Ashraf reluctantly agrees, but she fails to convince her brother to do so either.
Shah is in doubts, so in order to assure the Shah that England and the United States are fully backing the coup scenario, Safarjian asks Pahlavi to come up with a code phrase that will be aired over BBC radio at a designated time. Shah calls it and at the appointed time, instead of the usual phrase “it is now midnight in London”, Persian language news broadcast on BBC starts with “it is now exactly midnight”.
This was the signal for the start of the coup to overthrow Mossadeq.
Shah hands over the power in the city to General Zahedi and departs to his residency in countryside together with his wife Soraya. There Soraya finally convinces Shah to sign the firmans into effect.
Zahedi and Wilber, aware of Rustam Kerimi’s burning hatred towards the Shah, try to win him over. However their attempt to recruit him fails. Nevertheless, armed with Royal decree, conspirators order Colonel Naseri to arrest Mossadeq.
Meanwhile, Kerimi through a spy network reveals the conspirators’ plans to General Riahi who is a close ally to the Prime minister. Alerted of the imminent threat, Riahi seizes the opportunity to protect the Prime minister and to arrest of Colonel Nasser, accusing him of treason.
When the Shah and his wife learn about the failure of the coup they flee from Iran to Rome on a private plane.
Roosevelt receives a directive from CIA to curtail the operation and leave Iran immediately.
Roosevelt ignores the order. Fazlolah Zahedi knowing that his arrest is inevitable, attempts to commit suicide. Ardeshir and Roosevelt managed to convince Fazlolah not to give up yet. Another attempt to overthrow Mossadeq was set into action. For that purpose, they have recruited a ringleader of Tehran criminals. Tens of thousands of people came out to the streets of Tehran on the next day.
The mob consistent of rioters and common criminals destroys everything in its path. Zahedi leads the way to Mossadeq's residence, standing on a tank and distributing leaflets with the Shah’s Firmans. Mossadeq is arrested. Pahlavi couple learns of good news while they dine in Excelcior restaurant in Rome. Zahedi becomes the new Prime Minister of Iran.

A few years after the events of August 1953, Rustam Kerimi meets Zahedi again at the upcoming event of Ardeshir‘s wedding to, Shah's daughter from his first marriage, Shahnaz Pahlavi.
Kerimi, on behalf of the Soviet government and on his own account, congratulates the father and the son Zahedi, presenting them with a gift. It was a carpet knitted in Persia at his father’s factory. On the way out of the palace he sees Princess Ashraf, and after an exchange of glances, Rustam leaves.

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