Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi isn’t likely to return to his homeland anytime soon. Nor, for that matter, is he likely to succeed his deposed father Mohammad Reza as Shah of Iran in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, if Iran is to be liberated from its oppressive, radical, and messianic Ayatollahs regime, Reza Pahlavi would be considered a natural contender to serve as a future Iranian head of state. With a large supportive Iranian expatriate constituency in Los Angeles and in Europe, he is the obvious leader of the Iranian exile opposition to the Islamic Republic of the Ayatollahs.
Reza Pahlavi was born on October 31, 1960, and married Yasmine Etemad-Amini in 1986. They have three daughters and reside in Bethesda, Maryland. In 1980, shortly after his father’s death and on his 20th birthday, Reza Pahlavi, declared himself to be the new Shah of Iran – Reza Shah II. The Jimmy Carter administration declined to recognize him, and instead recognized the Islamic Republic led by Ayatollah Khomeini.
In his address to the International Society of Human Rights, on March 27, 2010, Reza Pahlavi declared: “Since the establishment of the clerical regime in Iran, both democracy and human rights have been grossly compromised. Not only did the people not gain political freedom, which some may have thought would be attained as a result of the ‘Islamic Revolution,’ but sadly they ended up losing practically all of the social freedoms which have been attained and enjoyed for a long time, particularly since the advent of the Constitutional Revolution at the turn of the 20th Century.”
Honored with the Champion of Jewish Values International Awards Gala in New York on May 5th, 2016, Reza Pahlavi stated: “But while Iran has this proud history, my own compatriots have been held hostage for 37 years by a clerical regime that abuses the very notion of freedom. Since I left my beloved Iran, I have dedicated my life to fighting for my compatriots’ freedom and their human rights. I do appreciate the fact that, by recognizing my efforts, you have demonstrated your care and concern about the plight of the millions of Iranians who have suffered under the repression of the clerical regime ruling my homeland.”
Israel Hayom, the Israeli daily mass circulation Hebrew newspaper, conducted an exclusive interview with Reza Pahlavi on February 14, 2021. Reza Pahlavi’s conclusive points are as follows: 1. The Biden administration is on the wrong path in rushing to announce that it intends to re-join the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal). 2. Hate is the glue that holds the current Iranian regime together. 3. Most of the Iranian people view the Islamic Republic as a failure. 4. The Iranian people wish for peace with Israel.
In alluding to the Biden administration, Pahlavi pointed out, knowing that the Americans pledged to return to the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal), the Iranian Ayatollahs rushed to increase the amount of uranium enrichment fivefold. He said, “They (The Biden Administration) would return to the nuclear deal when their sworn enemy (the Iranian regime), rushed to quintuple the rate of uranium enrichment.” Pahlavi added, “This is blackmail of the free world. The only smart solution for the Americans, the people of the region, and the Iranian people, is to support Iran’s struggle for freedom and democracy.”
Pahlavi explained that the West has entertained for over four decades the misconception that they (Americans and Europeans) might be able to change the Iranian regime’s behavior. The nuclear deal was motivated by just such a rationale. “It will not happen,” Pahlavi said. “The Iranians know that the regime is not led by its national interests, but by its corrupt and criminal interests. That is why in talks with foreign leaders, I explain to them that the only real solution is to support the needs of the Iranian people. The destructive actions of the regime are not beneficial to any long-term relationship with the free world.” Pahlavi mentioned the fact that Iranian activists have sent a letter to US President Joe Biden, expressing concern over the US planned return to the nuclear deal. Pahlavi doesn’t believe that Iran is just months away from producing a nuclear bomb, but he says, that the regime does not need the bomb to sow mayhem in the region.
Shifting gears, and dealing with Iran’s impact on the region, Pahlavi said, “With the economic benefits from the agreement ($150 billion in cash that was sent to Iran by the Obama administration), the regime controls three Arab capitals and frightens even more states. The agreement also helped support extremist Palestinians at the expense of moderates, and damaged Israel’s security.” Adding that, “In countries such as Iraq and Lebanon, where civilians fear militias such as Hezbollah, the financial damage had led to demonstrations against the effects of the Islamic Republic.”
Asked whether he supported the Abrahamic Accords between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (added by Sudan and Morocco), Pahlavi responded with a resolute “yes,” and “of course.” He pointed out that, “It is worth comparing the opportunities opened up to the young people in the participating countries with the suffering and misery of the ‘Axis of Resistance’ countries like Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen.” He considered countries such as Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as the “Alliance of Progress.” He went on to say, “They (Bahrain and UAE) have gained social, cultural, educational, and health ties. However, the victory is not complete until Iran is freed from the darkness of resistance to the light of the alliance.” He suggested moreover, that as long as the Ayatollahs regime controls Iran, the country will never normalize relations with Israel.
Pahlavi explained that the Ayatollahs regime doesn’t define itself by what it supports, namely prosperity and progress for the Iranian people. Instead, the Ayatollahs regime defines itself by what they hate, and oppose. He said, “It is not a tactic, but hatred that will not go away. It is necessary for them to create a common enemy that will unite different factions. It’s the ideological glue that keeps the regime going.” As evidence, we have seen the routine parades organized by the regime, with banners and shouting “Death to America, Death to Israel,” and the burning of the American and Israeli flags. These are clear manifestations of the hate culture fostered by the Ayatollahs.
Pahlavi suggested that his sources in Iran pointed out the declining support for the regime even from within the establishment. The Iranian people, he said, see the Islamic Republic as a continued failure. What matters to the Ayatollahs is self-preservation. It is an Anti-Iranian regime that has taken the Iranian nation hostage. He is convinced that the Ayatollahs regime will fall soon. “In the last three years there has been such a drastic change that only few still believe that the young generation will agree to endure the oppressive regime.”
Asked about relations with Israel should he assume power in Iran, Pahlavi said, “My goal is to liberate the country and establish a secular democracy based on the will of the people. I have no doubt that Cyrus’s children have a special place in their hearts for the people of Israel.”
Pahlavi is head of the National Council of Iran for Free Elections, comprised of 30 opposition groups in exile. Reza Pahlavi may or may not reach his goal of leading his country to freedom and democracy, but the Iranian people are bound to unshackle themselves from the oppression of the Ayatollahs.
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Photo credit: Gage Skidmore