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Reza Pahlavi's White Revolution

By Ardeshir Hafezi, Germany

The Recent events in Iran have once again alerted public opinion in and outside Iran on the urgency of unity and support for the Freedom Fighters in Iran. Interestingly the recent upheavals for which the LA Iranian American TV stations are accused of sponsoring are nevertheless the expression of an ever growing frustration among Iranians of all ages and class against what they consider as nearly a quarter century of religious theocracy and Islamic inquisition. Yes an inquisition that has controlled a whole nation's life in a tight grip imposing a life style uncommon in Iran's history since the middle ages or the invasion of Persia by Genghis Khan imposing a strict lifestyle on both men and woman, where every individual's clothing to sex life has been under strict scrutiny in order to respect the middle aged laws and regulations of the infamous "Green Book" written by the late Ayatollah Khomeini.

24 years after the establishment of an inquisition, which only the Spanish Inquisitor Torcemada could have admired and found inspiration in Medieval Spain, Iranians are asking for change. A change that Iran's Crown Prince and heir to the Peacock Throne has been spearheading to a certain degree and advocating ever since he took oath as "Roi de Jure" in Cairo back in 1980 upon his father Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi's death.

Reza Pahlavi has outlined his vision and hopes for a future democratic Iran, in his book "Winds of Change" calling for a national unity that could lead to a fair and just referendum under International supervision to decide on the future political system of the Iranian government and institutions based on democratic values and the respect of human rights. We are far from that ultimate goal, today the priority is to make sure that the current regime in Iran falls and that the nation is liberated and hopefully with the least bloodshed possible.

Such a transition requires unity. Unity of all democratic forces, be it Republicans or Constitutional Monarchists. A coherent position and attitude in regard to the would be violent actions perpetrated by the Islamic Republic thugs against the freedom fighters is a must. Iranians back home need to know that they are supported and are not alone in their fight for freedom.

Reza Pahlavi today is the only person around which a certain degree of consensus exists and around which a transitional government can be created in the post Islamic Republic Iran. In that he is a catalyst for a welcomed change by the vast majority of Iranians. We should not be blind or naive to think that this is a balanced battle between governmental forces and the people. The IRI thugs have the upper hand on the military, the Basijis and police forces, even if there are indications that the Army and Revolutionary Guards are divided and want to avoid direct confrontation with the freedom fighters. In such sensitive times the Iranian People will not forgive us if we show more divisions among ourselves. This is a historical opportunity that has to be seized and only true unity can guarantee protection and hope for our fellow compatriots back home.

It may seem ironic to some people to see that the son of the former Shah of Iran is today gaining a popularity both inside and outside Iran which his own father never truly had. What is taking place in Iran and among the Iranian diaspora who see in the Crown Prince of Iran the symbol of unity and short term political leadership towards victory is that the Crown Prince has not only distanced himself from the excesses of his fathers reign, particularly towards the lack of political freedom and human rights for which his secret police the SAVAK was accused of suppressing and which the Crown Prince has vehemently criticized as being one of the major reasons that brought his fathers reign to an end. Despite many positive economic and social advancements under his fathers reign such as the emancipation of woman, the lack of political pluralism is what caused major dissatisfactions. In addition The Crown Prince has totally espoused democratic values through his education and has not hesitated to pay a true tribute to all those who have fallen in the name of freedom be it the martyrs of the Revolution, the heroes of the Iran-Iraq war and the numerous victims who have died for their country, and last but not least patriots such as Mohammed Mossadeq and Shapour Bakhtiar both of whom he has hailed as eyeing among the greatest National Heroes of Iran

What The Crown Prince of Iran is probably achieving is what his father and grandfather tried and failed to completely realize, that is a White Revolution of King and Country. A national contract so to speak like the British Monarchy with its "Magna Carta" or the "American Bill of Rights" that could lead to what Iranians have been fighting for ever since the Constitutional Revolution of 1906 more than a century ago. In that The Crown Prince's campaign which started prior to the Sept 11th attacks and the American intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan appear both opportune and premonitory. This campaign addresses to the people of Iran beyond political and ideological divisions and that is probably why it has had such a favorable echo.

Only the future will say if his campaign will indeed be a success and that the Iranian people will achieve what the Crown Prince himself refers to as their "God Given Right" to democracy.

What is certain however is that the aftermath of the IRI will be followed by a political vacuum that will have to be filled by Iranians themselves. The Crown Prince can indeed guarantee national unity amongst Iranians either as Constitutional King or as a symbolic figurehead (after the referendum decides on the future status of the democratic regime). However Iran's political life has to be taken charge of by Iranians themselves through an elected body. The immense desire for change has created a generation of Iranians who desire to accept political responsibility and action. This is probably not apparent in the near circle that surrounds Reza Pahlavi , given the fact that for the time being the Crown Prince's campaign has been to first and foremost unite all political forces in order to bring down the dictatorial regime in Teheran. Nevertheless this will be an issue that will be raised at some point in the political arena after the downfall of the mullahcracy. Today's reformers should also start thinking about the role they want to play in a future democratic Iran. Their legitimacy is at stake, not to say obsolete, as long as they continue to support the current regime; Although I believe that they will certainly have to be given the possibility to express themselves only as an elected body by participating in the future elections in a democratic Iran as long as they are not directly linked to any crimes (as is the case of the infamous madman Khalkhali who has the hypocrisy of also calling himself a reformer).

The fall of the Islamic Republic should also be an opportunity to judge those responsible of crimes perpetrated against the Iranian people. This has to be done in a civilized and un-revengful conditions and by a court that respects the rights of the accused criminal, something that unfortunately was totally denied to the victims of the Islamic repression.

What is certain however is that the Iranian nation after 24 years of religious inquisition, political repression and sexual apartheid imposed on Iranian men and woman is on the Verge of Explosion. A totally bloodless transition is what we all hope for, but no one can predict the way the mullahs of Teheran will react. This is precisely why The Iranian opposition has to show unity in the face of a would be showdown in Iran.

What is certain however, in the face of the recent courageous upheavals, is as the late and brave Shapour Bakhtiar predicted and used to claim out and loud "Iran shall never die."

About the author:

Ardeshir Hafezi is a dentist working and residing in Bochum, Germany.

... Payvand News - 6/19/03 ... --

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