HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE - Exclusive: Shah of Iran's Heir Plans Overthrow of Regime by
Reza Pahlavi, son of the late Shah of Iran, told the editors of HUMAN EVENTS last week that in the next two to three months he hopes to finalize the organization of a movement aimed at overthrowing the Islamic regime in Tehran and replacing it with a democratic government.
He believes the cause is urgent because of the prospect that Iran may soon develop a nuclear weapon or the U.S. may use military force to preempt that. He hopes to offer a way out of this dilemma: a revolution sparked by massive civil disobedience in which the masses in the streets are backed by elements of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Pahlavi, who lives in exile in the United States, said he has been in contact with elements of the Revolutionary Guard that would be willing to play such a role, and activists who could help spark the civil disobedience.
He also said that the U.S. and other governments can help by imposing “smart sanctions” on the leaders of Iranian regime, but he categorically opposes U.S. military intervention.
After the revolution he envisions, Pahlavi said, he would be willing to become a constitutional monarch in Iran if an Iranian constitutional convention offered him that role. “I’m ready to serve in that capacity,” he said. “If the people so choose, it would be my greatest honor.”
The following are excerpts from the interview with the editors of HUMAN EVENTS in which Pahlavi explained why and how he thinks his country can be transformed from an Islamist dictatorship into a free democracy.
In your argument for why you could not see supporting, under any circumstances, the United States’ using military action against Iran, you said this would turn the Iranian people against Americans.
Yes, they’re your best natural allies. What they see, rather than helping us—because we are your best weapon against this regime. Why do you want to bypass us? And you’re attacking our resources.
Last year, Iran elected Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a viciously anti-American president. He’s threatening the destruction of Israel. He’s threatening the United States. Why is it that the same country that can elect this guy has a pro-American population?
Because that’s what the Iranian people are like. Iran is the only country that has the most pro-Western people with the most anti-Western government—unlike the rest of the countries in the region.
Why did that develop? In 2000 you had the reformer, President Khatami, everyone said the parliament is for reform. Then suddenly, five years later, you have someone else elected by an overwhelming margin who is supposedly anti-West. And, of course, he defeated Rafsanjani.
Again, you see the tree but you don’t see the forest.
The whole regime, in its entirety, is hostile and antagonistic to what we understand in the free world as being our definition of human rights and individual freedoms. This regime is dedicated to implement a viewpoint which is the most extreme interpretation of religion and God’s law on Earth, anywhere around the globe, starting with itself, the region and beyond. If tomorrow they can do it in Washington, they will do it. Or anywhere else. They don’t see eye to eye with you. This is a regime that is dedicated to that.
But you’re not explaining the change from 2000, when they had reformers in there, and people thought they had a chance—
Reformers to reform what? To sustain the regime or to change it? The reformers were not committed to end the regime. They were committed to preserving it. And so was Khatami. Don’t get me wrong. That’s part of the typical mistake the West has been making, including the U.S. government.
It still would have been a more moderate regime than the present one.
Come on, who are we kidding? You said the same thing about Andropov. You said he drinks whiskey and listens to jazz, therefore he’s more moderate. He was Communist for God’s sake.
How would you change it now?
The reason the regime was using Khatami as the smiling face talking about a dialogue of civilizations was just to buy time. The same way that in the nuclear race they played the game of buying time by saying we’re going to negotiate with Russians or we’re not going to talk to them—buying time. Three years of endless negotiations has produced nothing. Why? The regime gained an extra three years. All I’m saying is that now, when you look at the future, we have a delicate time frame within which we can bring about change.