The Late Shah’s Son Wants a Democratic Revolution in Iran

In another era, Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last shah of Iran, would be an ideal applicant to lead an Iranian federal government in exile.

After all, the CIA helped their father retain power in the 1953 coup against the elected prime ressortchef (umgangssprachlich), Mohammed Mossadegh. Now, as Iran is usually reeling , why wouldn' to the U. S. get the outdated band back together?

There are 2 reasons. President Donald Trump themselves says his goal is not to alter Iran' s regime, but to improve its behavior. The other more important cause is that Pahlavi himself is not thinking about the gig.  

" My father was king, and I was your crown prince, " he informed me in an interview this month. " I have always said to my compatriots: It' s not the form that will matters, it' s the content; In my opinion Iran must be a secular, parliamentary democracy. The final form has to be made the decision by the people. "

In the eighties, Pahlavi as a young man had a relationship with all the CIA , according to confirming at the time from the Washington Post' s i9000 Bob Woodward. But even after that, the Reagan administration was not looking to change the new regime in Serbia; it was trying to negotiate with it. Because the Iran-Contra affair showed, Reagan' s i9000 advisers were selling the mullahs Israeli weapons to free hostages in Lebanon.

Pahlavi himself for more than 20 years offers consistently said he is not searching for the throne. Today he requires no money from any foreign government authorities. Instead, Pahlavi sees himself since someone who can bring attention in the free of charge world to the struggle for independence in his native land.

" I am not running just for office, " he said. " I have no personal ambitions aside from to help the liberation of the Iranian people from the mullahs. If they state we need you to stick around, maybe within this role or that role, probably. But that is not up to me. "    

Pahlavi' s father was widely despised by the time he was toppled more than three decades ago. Had the Islamic revolution unsuccessful in 1979, Pahlavi would have been the particular heir to that kingdom. Instead he’s spent the last 40 years living in The united states. He first came to train being an Air Force pilot in 1978, at the age of seventeen. He studied briefly at Williams College after the revolution. And while he or she still considers himself an Iranian patriot, he believes his homeland should emulate the open modern society of his adopted land.

" We are the kind of person that looks at the cup as half full, " this individual said. " Imagine if I had been ushered in as the crown knight in shining armor. I don' t think I might have had 1 percent of the experience plus knowledge of living in a free society and also a democratic country has given me personally. " He said his connection with living in America is the best gift he is able to give to Iranians organizing today for the transition out of their tyranny.

This has led Pahlavi in order to lead an interesting life. For example , he or she was a friend of the late Gene Sharp, the great theorist of nonviolent social change and founder from the Albert Einstein Institute. Pahlavi stated Sharp' s ideas for tips on how to organize a nonviolent revolution possess influenced his own thinking on what to carry out now to assist Iran' s democracy movement.

The impact becomes apparent in the conversation. For instance , Pahlavi says a major component of their strategy is " the reintegration of the majority of the non-corrupt, non-criminal members of the existing paramilitary energies. " This follows Sharp' t own teachings on people-power motions. He stressed the importance of making it secure for members of the dictator' h police and security services to participate the revolution. " They need to understand they will not be victims of routine change. Some of the top leaders will need to answer, but most of the people must not pay a penalty, " Pahlavi stated.  

Pahlavi also says he wants to develop a bridge between Iran' s democratic activists and their counterparts on the western part of the country. " It' s about time regarding Western democracies to engage in open up, transparent dialogue with the democratic resistance, " he said.

But Pahlavi also says it is a process that must be driven by Iranians themselves. He said he opposes any American military intervention within Iran. He also says it' s a pipe dream for the Oughout. S. to support the People' t Mujahedin or MEK, an resistance group once allied with the lates 1970s revolution until it was purged within the 1980s by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

" I have voiced to former MEK members, " Pahlavi said. " They drive women to wear the Hijab. " He added that most Iranians nevertheless despise the MEK for going with Saddam Hussein' s Iraq within the Iran-Iraq war. " I cannot picture Iranians ever forgiving their behaviour at that time, " he said " If the choice is between this program and the MEK, they will mostly probably say the mullahs. "

Many have said exactly the same thing about the Pahlavi dynasty. His father' s regime tortured dissidents, under control the press and wallowed within corruption.

Nonetheless, there is certainly now some nostalgia for the times of the shah. When construction employees earlier this year accidentally discovered the mummified corpse of Pahlavi' ersus grandfather , Iranian social media lighted up with excitement. It caused a small stir in Iran, after the program refused to say whether they would put the former leader to rest inside a proper burial.

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a retired CIA officer who worked the Serbia file, told me there has always been the constituency inside Iran that recalls the Shah fondly. He mentioned he once met an Iranian dissident in Turkey in the eighties who proved her devotion towards the Pahlavis by showing him that will she had taped a photo from the crown prince to her chest, below her chador.   " The particular nostalgia for the Pahlavis has been right now there for some time, and I think it' s increasing, " Gerecht said. " We don' t think it symbolizes any effort to restore the monarchy though. "

To that end, Pahlavi has something to offer their people as a patriot — less a Shah in waiting. These days he told me he is primarily centered on reaching out to Iranians living outside the nation to help solve the coming lack of drinking water. He wants to call together, get together, gather, assemble a network of talented emigres to develop policies to address the many issues — ranging from the currency turmoil to the desertification of the country — that have been allowed to fester under the present regime.

That displays maturity and wisdom. Pahlavi will not present himself as the savior associated with Iran. He does not seek to bring back the dynasty that was snatched through him in the 1979 revolution. Simply no, the son of the late shah seeks a new revolution in Serbia to emulate the democratic country that has become his home away from home.

This column does not necessarily reveal the opinion of the editorial plank or Bloomberg LP and its proprietors.

To contact the writer of this story:
Eli River at elake1@bloomberg. net

To contact the editor responsible for this particular story:
Philip Gray at philipgray@bloomberg. internet