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Reza Pahlavi Foresees Democratic Iran

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2004 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reza Pahlavi Foresees Democratic Iran Reply with quote

Reza Pahlavi Foresees Democratic Iran
February 11, 2004
Eva Cahen

With the approach of widely contested legislative elections in Iran, the son of the late Shah is urging the world's democracies to withhold diplomatic support for the government in Tehran, which he said was anyway powerless as only the country's divine council was allowed to create and approve laws.

"The elections are meaningless," Reza Pahlavi told a press conference in Paris on Wednesday, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Shah's government, in what became known as the Islamic Revolution.

"It is critical not to mistake so-called reforms and elections as a cure for the Islamic Republic. Even perfect elections are meaningless for a parliament that does not have the right to make laws. This is a theocracy, remember ..."

The elections are scheduled for Feb. 20 after a campaign marked by a stand-off between reformists and the hard-line Guardians Council, which advises the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

President Mohammad Khatami has protested that the elections will not be fair because thousands of reformist candidates have been disqualified and people would have no motivation to vote.

Pahlavi pointed out that a recently released opinion poll indicated that 90 percent of Iranians did not intend to vote for any candidate, within the current regime.

He argued that this "demonstrates that Iran's political conflicts are not based on tactical differences between the so called reformists and conservative factions, but that it is a conflict between the people of Iran and the regime in its entirety."

Pahlavi said a non-violent movement of civil disobedience against the rule of the mullahs was gaining strength and the best support Western countries could offer would be to deny legitimacy to a government which Iranians themselves no longer considered legitimate.

The 43-year-old, who has lived in exile in the United States since his father was overthrown in 1979, predicted that Iranians would "soon tear down the black wall of the Islamic Republic and join the free world."

Pahlavi said he maintains contact with a wide array of the Iranian population, including students, workers, clergy, military and intellectuals. Nine out of ten Iranians no longer support the Islamic regime, he asserted.

Pahlavi said, "it is the people who are isolating the regime, cutting off support and sapping its authority. Indeed, it is striking the extent to which this regime has lost authority, not just vis-e-vis the people, but within the regime and with respect to the organs of the government itself."

While he foresees the regime falling, Pahlavi pleaded against armed intervention, which he said could result in a massacre.

"It is just a question of time that the cracks in the regime will widen and the Iranian people will have achieved democracy themselves."

Asked whether he envisioned returning to the throne his father was forced to abdicate, Pahlavi said he hoped Iranians would be able to hold a referendum to decide what kind of government they wanted.

If they chose a constitutional monarchy, he would be available, but he would not impose himself.

Pahlavi said he imagined Iran's future as a secular democracy, bringing peace and stability to the region.

After the Islamic Revolution, his country had become "a convention center for the terrorist industry, a meeting place for those who fund, organize, lend logistic and scientific support, plan events and coordinate strategies against the free world.

"Maybe the reverse could happen when Iran becomes a democracy."
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