Prince Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran’s late shah told an audience in Washington on Friday that after 40 years of the Islamic Republic’s existence, his compatriots “want their freedom, their dignity and their country back”.
Speaking at the Washington Institute, Prince Reza, who is a prominent opposition figure, said the movement for change in Iran, highlighted by mass protests, presents the international community with “a historic opportunity” to solve the problem of “threats” from the Islamic Republic. He added that helping Iran to rid itself of the current regime and become democratic will also help stability in the Middle East.
The Islamic Republic has been trying to export its version of anti-Western and anti-Israeli politics to regional countries since its inception. The current U.S. administration has reimposed heavy sanctions on Iran partly demanding that Tehran should change its behavior and stop interfering in other countries,
Reza Pahlavi told his audience that a representative government in Iran will work together with its Arab neighbors to stamp out terrorism and will open its doors to Western and other countries.
He made it clear that he does not believe the Islamic Republic can reform itself and the only way forward is a “secular, democratic Iran”, to be achieved through nonviolent means.
Imploring the West and the international community to help Iran achieve this objective, Prince Reza quoted Martin Luther King: “We will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends”. He asked all democratic forces to unite to help Iranians, saying, “This a struggle for human dignity and liberation”.
During mass protests in Iran earlier this year, many were chanting the name of Reza Pahlavi's grandfather, Reza Shah who put Iran on the road to administrative, economic and educational modernization. Protesters were also calling his name as a sign of defiance against the current rulers.