By: Mir M.Hosseini
With a speech by Mohammad Reza Shah in front of Pasargadae, 2500 Years Celebrations began. Top officials from more than 100 nations attended the luxurious ceremonies that depicted Iran's glorious civilization but backfired as it drew ire between Iranians that saw it as a sign of Shah's personal ambitions.
Shah was determined to stage his show of shows as a sign to the rest of the world that Iran is again a nation equal to all the others. This one raised red flags among those who did not want to see Iran gain an identity and slip out of their hegemony.
Representatives from 69 states including a reigning Emperor, nine Kings, five Queens, 13 Princes, eight Princesses, 16 Presidents, three Premiers, four Vice Presidents, two Governor Generals, two Foreign Ministers, nine Sheikhs and two Sultans poured into Iran for the monumental celebration marking the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire that stretched from present-day India to the Aegean, and from the Danube to the Nile by Cyrus the Great.
The event had many side stories on unprecedented amount of spending and waste on haute couture and luxuries such as bringing food and decorations directly from France. The overall expenses were estimated at some $300,000,000 while ordinary people were living in poverty and thus become a tool for propaganda against him even after he was ousted. Still, changing the Iran's calendar to the imperial date instead of the Arabic Hijri, along other nationalistic trends such as extensive use of Shir-o-Khorshid (Lion and Sun) appearing everywhere had a positive impact on Iranians who had lost their true identity due to centuries of exploitation and humiliation.