Reza Pahlavi, the son of the former Shah of Iran, has accused the country’s regime of attempting to maintain its tyranny through fraud disguised as the presidential election.
In a press release, Pahlavi labeled the election a “deception” and called on Iranians to reject it.
Iran’s 12th presidential election is scheduled for May 19, and the six candidates, all approved by the Guardian Council vetting body, are busy campaigning for the highest elected office.
Pahlavi, directly appealed to the Iranian people in the statement published on his official website.
“Correctly understanding the meaning of everything, you know well that for the factional regime [of Iran], the setting of the candidates handpicked by the ruling clique is nothing but an intellectual, conceptual, political, and electoral fraud,” he wrote.
H went on to say that a healthy, just, and competitive election is organized only by the social entities emerging from a civil society, not by the state.
Calling the Iranian regime a criminal sect, the former crown prince described the coming election as an “electoral ta’zia,” or a Shi’ite re-enactment passion play.
“Without your participation in the election, the criminal sectarian gang that rules Iran will collapse. The criminal regime, by dealing the cards of power, has bestowed the role of terrorizing on the so-called Principlists, and the instruments of deception inclusively on the so-called reformists,” he continued.
In the election, the reformists support the incumbent, President Hassan Rouhani, while the bulk of conservatives and hardliners favor candidate Ebrahim Raeisi.
Rouhani has described the elections in Iran as “free, healthy, and democratic” and held under the supervision of a meticulous executive and supervisory system.
However, several political personalities and parties, including six Iranian-Kurdish parties and the Alliance for Democracy in Iran, are boycotting the coming election.
Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has also declared that none of the presidential candidates has a passable record in human rights.
In an exclusive interview with Radio Farda last December, the exiled prince emphasized that he has no affinity for the monarchy and retaining the throne.
“Democracy, human rights, and secularism are my priorities. I want a ruling system that allows Muslims alongside the atheists to be free, without any clash with each other,” he said.
In February, Pahlavi wrote an open letter to U.S. President Donald Trump regarding future involvement in the region.
“The struggle against radical militant Islam cannot be won through appeasement or war. The only way to succeed in this struggle is by supporting and strengthening Iran’s civil society, which is at the heart of the Middle East. I therefore hope that the United States will play a pivotal role, along with other democratic governments, in supporting the brave people of Iran in their quest for liberty and justice,” he wrote.
Pahlavi concluded his letter to Trump by emphasizing his firm belief that “a democratic and secular Iran will bring stability to the region, which is the common interest of the free world and the Iranian people.”
Pahlavi’s statement approximately a week before the election is significant, as Iranian leaders are calling upon voters to go to the polls.
Critics of the regime argue that it makes little difference who becomes president, since the elected executive does not control the bulk of important state bodies and institutions. In almost all critical matters, it is the word of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, who is not elected by popular vote, that counts.