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Iran's Exiled Crown Prince Says Khamenei's Remarks About Protesters 'Cowardly'

Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of Iran's last shah before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and a critic of the country's clerical leaders. File photo

In a post on his Telegram social media channel on November 20, Prince Reza Pahlavi, the exiled heir to the throne of Iran, said the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's accusations against protesters who took to the streets in more than a hundred cities and towns in the past week were "cowardly".

Khamenei has repeatedly called the protesters "hooligans" and said they were responsible for "sabotage and arson". In his first reference to the protests on November 17 Khamenei also blamed the family of the last monarch of Iran, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) of inciting riots in Iranian cities and towns.

During protests which erupted following the announcement of the sharp increase in the price of gasoline on November 15 and continued for several days, protesters reportedly paid tribute to the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, Reza Shah, in many parts of Iran.

"Your recent remarks in response to the justice seeking cries of the people who can no longer endure the crimes of your cohorts are much more cowardly than to deserve an analytical and point-by-point response," the former Iranian Crown Prince wrote in his Telegram post. (Persian link)

Reza Pahlavi blamed the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic for causing ill-reputation to Iran and leading it to poverty, backwardness, isolation and disaster and said that "the Pahlavi [dynasty] has always been and will always remain the friend and helper of its people."

Soon after the protests began Prince Reza Pahlavi and Farah Pahlavi, the former Queen of Iran, supported the uprising and condoled the relatives of the protesters who were killed.

In an exclusive interview with Radio Farda on November 18 the former queen of Iran, Farah Pahlavi, had dismissed Khamenei's accusations of inciting protests andresponding to Khamenei's accusations advised him to "contemplate on the reasons why the protests began in the first place."