April 26 (UPI) — Excavators believe they may have found the mummified body of former Iranian ruler Reza Shah Pahlavi at a construction site in Tehran.
Workers were digging at the site of the Abdulazim Shrine in the capital when they found the remains in a pile of rubble.
Pahlavi was buried in a nearby mausoleum after his death in 1944, but the tomb was later destroyed by Iranian revolutionaries who wanted to erase signs of the past royal regime. His body has been missing since.
It was Pahlavi’s son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown during the Iranian revolution in 1979.
DNA tests will now be done to formally identify the mummified remains.
Iran’s exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi said in a statement the body is most likely that of his grandfather and asked authorities to respect the remains.
“This is not only the concern of a person or a family, it is an issue with national and historic aspects. Reza Shah belongs to all people of Iran and his admirers,” he said.
Some officials who work at the shrine, though, said the body is not Pahlavi’s.
Although the Pahlavi dynasty is controversial in Iran, many Iranians think highly of the former ruler for his modernization programs. He was forced from power in 1941 by British and Russian officials and was succeeded by his son.