From the sad luxury of a guarded Paris apartment, Princess Ashraf Pahlavi spends her days looking back at her twin brother's former empire, now the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country at war with itself.
Increasingly, as the Tehran government meets terrorist opposition with bloody retribution, the news from home brings grief, despair and more bitterness to a woman who shared the shah's flight, his embarrassing search for a refuge and, she feels, his betrayal by former president Jimmy Carter.
"I would like to know," she said in an interview, "where are the human rights lawyers who in my brother's time were making such a fuss over a simple arrest or so-called infringements on freedom of the press and things like that? Where are they? Why are they keeping silent now? I would like to make an appeal to the world, to the international community. Why do they remain silent? Where is Amnesty International now?"
She added, in soft, subdued French: "It hurts me to see my people killed like this."
Although she is regal and elegant at 61, the princess looks to a visitor like she indeed has been hurt.
By the revolution:
"In my opinion, it was not a revolution. It was a revolt and a foreign conspiracy of red communists and black moslem clergy from abroad."
By the distance between Iran and its former monarchy, represented by the shah's 21-year-old son Reza in his Cairo exile:
"We need a military coup first. Then we can restore democracy and the constitution that we have had since 1906. We already have a king--Reza II--who succeeded his father legitimately."
By the Carter administration's refusal of her brother after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took over in Iran:
"If my brother died so fast, if his death was before its time, it is because the Carter administration did not let him get proper medical treatment. I don't say there could have been a miracle, that he would have lived forever, but he would have lived for five or six years more. And for that, it was the Carter administration, and I condemn them severely for that."
Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, stricken with cancer in several organs, died 13 months ago in a Cairo military hospital beside the Nile after an operation on his spleen. Behind him were 37 years on the Iranian throne during which he was singled out by the United States as its major ally in the Middle East until the Islamic revolution drove him from power.
In the princess's view, Carter and his national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, also deserve much of the blame for his downfall and the turmoil that has since gripped Iran.
"Six months before all these things happened, Mr. Carter was in our house, and he gave so much praise to my brother, saying he was the greatest leader in the world and that we should follow his advice, and that Iran was an island of security," she said, recalling Carter's Tehran visit on New Year's Eve 1977. "How could they think, six months later, that he was a tyrant and a despot and a dictator and that they had to get rid of him?"
The princess, who was reported to have played an active advisory role during her brother's final days on the throne, condemned what effort the Carter White House did make as bumbling and ineffective.
"Between Carter, Brzezinski and the State Department, there was never any coordination," she said, "and meanwhile, my country was coming apart."
After summer in her villa at Juan-les-Pins on the French Riviera, the princess is back in Paris for a time. Later she will move on to her New York apartment, she says, and in the meantime she is receiving the monarchist opposition leaders who have made Paris their base and who are trying to organize a military coup in Iran. Her French-educated daughter, Princess Azadeh, devotes most of her time to work among young monarchist exiles, leading a group that puts out its own newspaper and is associated with former Gen. Bahram Ayryana. The group is best known for participation in the hijacking last month of one of three French-built Iranian missile boats off Spain as they were being delivered to the Iranian Navy.
Aside from a burst of publicity surrounding the hijacking, however, most attention has focused on former president Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr and Massoud Rajavi, leader of the leftist Mujaheddin-e-Khalq guerrillas, who fled Iran together and sought exile here July 29.
Perhaps with that in mind, Princess Ashraf invited The Washington Post for an interview to "speak openly, to say what I have in my heart, what I think." Bani-Sadr and Rajavi have ample funds from Libya and the Palestine Liberation Organization to finance their opposition, she charged, while "on this side of the opposition we don't have any money."
"All those stories about the billions of the royal family are not true," she added. "We are not comfortable. It takes money to do anything, even to have an army, a commando group. It takes money, and we don't have it."