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Asia-pacific

Shah's son calls for peaceful regime change

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-02-18

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of Iran's last Shah, called on his compatriots to "refuse to cooperate with the regime" and develop a grassroots political transition movement based on "civil disobedience".

Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran’s deposed Shah, called on his countrymen to exercise “civil disobedience” to push for “peaceful regime transition and national reconciliation 'à la' South Africa”.
 
Speaking on FRANCE 24 a day after the Iranian regime celebrated the 1979 Islamic Revolution’s 30th anniversary, the exiled prince (who does not advocate a return to a monarchist regime) called the international community to step up its support for Iran’s opposition movement and to stop focusing on sanctions against the country’s nuclear programme.
 
“Sanctions in and of themselves, within the current status-quo, will not change anything on the long run, and would have a negative effect on the population”, Pahlavi said. He urged world leaders to firmly state that “enough is enough. This regime is no longer acceptable”.
 
“The demand of the Iranian people today is well beyond any hope of the current regime reforming itself. The opposition movement is turning towards a more fundamental expectation of regime change to a secular, democratic alternative”, he explained.
 
Pahlavi advocates regime change through “non-violent civil disobedience” initiatives similar to that which led to the fall of several former soviet satellite regimes. He gave the example of some Iranian security officials who, in recent months, have reportedly refused to crack down on the dissidents as harshly as demanded by their superiors.“It’s indicative that there is a sense of conscience and guilt within coercive forces”, he said.
 
Although the prince portrays himself as a “vocal advocate of freedom, democracy and human rights” in Iran, former minister and leading Iranian dissident Houchang Nahavandi told FRANCE 24 that he doubted that the heir has the “charisma” necessary to rally royalists, liberals and other political factions into a unified opposition movement.
 
Reza Pahlavi was 17 when his father, the Shah, was forced into exile after being toppled from power in 1979. He had left the country a year earlier to complete his higher education, earning a pilot’s certificate from in the United States Air Force Training Program and a Political Science degree from the University of Southern California.

 

Date created : 2010-02-12

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