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Exiled Prince Says Negotiations With Islamic Republic Must End

Reza Pahlavi, former Crown Prince of Iran, speaks about current events in Iran at the Hudson Institute in Washington, January 15, 2020

Iran’s exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi, a prominent opposition figure, has called for maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic and maximum support for Iranians demanding change in their country.

Speaking at Hudson Institute in Washington D.C., the exiled Prince insisted that the behavior of the Islamic Republic authorities would never change. He also emphasized that negotiation with Tehran without any precondition is betraying the people of Iran.

Since the United States pulled out of the 2015 nuclear agreement in May 2018, President Donald Trump has repeatedly offered negotiations with Iran without preconditions.

"This regime is the greatest single menace to peace, stability, and prosperity in the Middle East”, sowing “division, destruction, and death across the region," Prince Reza lambasted the Islamic Republic establishment, adding, ''My compatriots understand that this regime cannot be reformed, and must be removed."

Describing the clergy-dominated regime in Iran as an "abnormal" system, the former Crown Prince referred to its latest “atrocity", demanding, "What normal government launches missiles into the territory of a neighboring state without grounding its commercial flights? What normal government places its security and international airport into the hands of a repressive paramilitary force (the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps)?"

Reza Pahlavi was referring to the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane on January 8, as it took off from Tehran’s airport by missiles apparently fired by mistake. This was just hours after Iran launched missiles at American bases in Iraq.

Insisting that the days of the Islamic Republic are numbered, the 59-year-old Prince, noted, "I think (the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader) Mr. Khamenei for the first time in the last few weeks has realized that it is pointless to repress people since they are openly chanting for removing him from the picture."

Iran has reached the point that slogans on the streets are loud and clear, he argued, adding that only a "miracle" can save Khamenei and his allies in Iran.

"If they throw a lifeline again, in the name of foreign diplomacy and negotiations”, Khamenei might survive a little longer, “But I think the events have passed this regime. We are in a mode of final implosion," Prince Reza told the audience.

Meanwhile, he praised President Donald Trump's administration for siding with the people of Iran.

"Over the past forty years, and counting all previous administrations, whether Republican or Democrat, I can safely say that this is the first administration demonstrating some support for the Iranian people, and clearly making a distinction between the people and the regime."

However, he immediately noted that President Trump's administration by telling Tehran it still wants to have a dialog with the regime discourages the people who are risking their lives to achieve freedom in Iran.

The time has come for ending "endless negotiations" with the Islamic Republic, Prince Reza asserted, adding that it is time to negotiate with the people of Iran.

"The people listening to us today, in Tehran, Mashhad, Tabriz, and four corners of Iran, they all expect the world to show something more than just moral support. They expect them not to be thrown under the bus, in the name of diplomacy and negotiations," he affirmed.

While the exiled prince urged the Trump administration “to negotiate with the people”, Iran’s opposition in exile remains divided, without a unified central group representing a consensus. All major opposition groups and political currents agree that the regime must go but they have not come together to chart a road map.

Responding to a question about a general strike in Iran, and why he has never called for it, the exiled Prince said, "We can call for a national strike when we have the ability to promise the would-be strikers that they will be compensated later for risking their income and wages.

"The timing of a strike is also important because you cannot sustain a strike for months at a time. It has to be a part of the climax that forces the final nail into the coffin of the regime."

Once again, Prince Reza called on President Trump to seek a dialog with the people of Iran, not its political establishment, "Regimes do not survive, but nations do. We live in the 21st century. Forget about detente or realpolitik. They are not the order of the day anymore. We cannot stop the people; we can only help them."