Son of Deposed Shah Says that “It Is Time” to Change the Future of Iran
By Dialogo June 23, 2009Washington, 22 June (EFE).- Reza Cyrus Pahlavi, the son of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, deposed by the Iranian Revolution in 1979, today expressed his confidence that “it is time for Iran" to overthrow the Islamic regime, after years of failed attempts. In an emotional press conference, the Iranian prince, who has lived in the United States since 1984, characterized the protest movement that has developed in his native land as a result of the June 12 elections, considered fraudulent by the opposition, as a "cry for freedom and democracy." With his voice breaking with emotion, he indicated that what is happening in Iran "is almost revolutionary" and that "this is the first time ever in modern Iranian history" that the Iranian people are demanding the intervention of the international community so that their voices may be heard. "We have to defeat the system; we know that this regime ultimately must end," affirmed Pahlavi, who left Iran in 1978 and has lived in Morocco, Egypt, and the United States since then. The son of the last shah of Persia, who died in exile in Egypt in 1980, acknowledged that many have tried before to cause the "ultimate collapse" of the Iranian regime, but he expressed his conviction that "it is time for Iran after thirty years" of struggle. He affirmed that there exists "impetus" to put an end to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Islamic government, but he also suggested that the movement would not "succeed" without the support of the international community and the "tactic ," more than verbal, support of foreign governments. "I have seldom seen non-violent movements of change succeed without international support," he stated. Along these lines, he described himself as "encouraged" by the most recent declarations by U.S. president Barack Obama, who over the weekend called on Tehran to "stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people." Pahlavi, basing himself on reports reaching him from Iran and on his contacts with Iranians in political, military, and religious circles, explained that at the present time there are two groups in the upper levels of the Iranian government, those who are loyal to the regime and those who are carefully planning their "exit strategy." Looking forward, the prince said that, as time passes, the movement will grow, and pressure on the regime will increase. "At some point there will be much clearer positions announced" on the part of members of the government, of military intelligence, and of the Iranian clergy, either against or in favor of the people in the street, he predicted. "This has become also a defining moment for the clergy to show a complete demarcation from the system," he indicated. "A decision will have to be made pretty soon" by the various Iranian authorities on whether they join the voice of the people and distance themselves from the regime or continue to support it, he added. What is important is to keep the protest movement going, given that pressure will "further deteriorate and fragment" the Iranian theocratic regime, he insisted. "We will not let it die," he said of the movement, which he considers "not Islamic or anti-Islamic," but rather it seeks the "sacred" and "sovereign" of the voters' decision to prevail. "This has gone beyond just a result of an election or a candidate," he added, and has become a matter of achieving "democracy" and "the liberty to vote and choose freely." Pahlavi, who lives in Maryland with his wife and three daughters, indicated that his decision to speak out in favor of the Iranian people had nothing to do with his own future, but rather with the struggle to establish a democratic, parliamentary, and secular system in his country, because this is "the only solution" and outcome for Iran.