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REZA's CALL: An Iranian Solidarnosc...




During his European Book Tour ("L'Heure Du Choix"), Iran's former Crown Prince warns the US and Israel against any military option towards his country regardless of the outcome of Iran's Presidential  elections  (*) Intro & Translation by Darius KADIVAR


photocomposition ©DK


By Claude ASKOLOVITCH ( For The Journal du Dimanche), Intro & Translation by Darius KADIVAR


Intro By Darius KADIVAR:


As the upcoming presidential elections in Iran raise questions to all political observers and participants on the options left for Iran in terms of domestic and foreign policy in order to improve its international image and gain internal support in prolonging its existence as a ruling Theocracy, it may be of interest to take a look at what the former Crown Prince of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, has to say in this regard. Indeed regardless of whether one is a supporter or not of the Monarchy or if one shares or not his political vision for Iran's future, one cannot deny the fact that the Iranian Prince continues to play a significant role as an outspoken opposition leader to the clerical regime in Tehran. In addition the, former Crown Prince has remained in the public eye, ever since his birth to popular enthusiasm on the 31st of October 1960 in a public hospital in the Southern part of Iran's capital, Tehran. A symbolic gesture at a time when the Royal couple wished to see their first child be born amongst their less privileged subjects and modest inhabitants of the Royal capital rather than in a private clinic in the northern part of the city.


For people of my generation at least, it is nearly hard to believe that time has past so fast. This familiar face, has more or less consciously belonged to our collective memory for more than 5 decades now. Indeed the little boy whose photo illustrated our Persian School Textbooks during our childhood and teenage years and whose followers affectionately call the "Young Shah"  (ever since he took oath in exile as "Roi de Jure" in Cairo three decades ago shortly after his father's death: See Videos Part I , Part II) is a man who has reached the mature age of 49 (actually one year older than the newly elected American President Barack Hussein Obama). Happily married to a beautiful wife who has given him three beautiful daughters, the former Crown Prince of our ancient land could have easily led an anonymous yet very comfortable life away from the troubles and headaches of a political destiny which was thrust upon him by birth and not by choice. Instead he has decided, in a bid for Democracy and Human Rights, the difficult task of trying to rally his compatriots towards a common goal: Regime Change through Civil Disobedience. Something for which he has been campaigning for more than three decades but which the European Press seems to echo more adamantly in recent months due to the former Crown Prince's marathon tour to promote his new book written with the help of French journalist Michel Taubmann titled in French "L'Iran: L'Heure Du Choix" aka Iran:The Hour of Choice.




TOP: 31st of October 1960, Iran has a New Crown Prince. Born to the Shah of Iran and his newly wed wife Farah Diba.

BOTTOM: Prince's 17th birthday celebrated at Niavaran Palace with Googoosh singing for guests.




The familiar face to my generation may appear an enigmatic figure back home. The fall of the Pahlavi dynasty by the fundamentalist revolution that ousted his father from the Peacock Throne put an end to 25 centuries of the Royal Institution in Iran, once known as Persia. Many younger compatriots discovered his very existence only after seeing him on American and International Medias shortly following the aftermath of Sept 11th or through the publication of his first book: Winds of Change: The Future of Democracy in Iran in which he developed and defended his political vision. Yet he has been present in the Political Arena for more then 30 years now. The latter book which was the fruit of nearly 20 years of reflection on his role and responsibilities as a political figure in exile had the credit of outlining his political agenda in full transparency: That of seeing his people come to the Polls of an Internationally supervised and democratically organized Referendum in order to choose the Democratic and Secular System of government of their choice. However to some degree this first book failed to entirely satisfy the readers curiosity in terms of more personal and legitimate questions in regard not only to his own life, beliefs and upbringing but also in regard to his genuine feelings about his father's reign and responsibilities in his own downfall. The task of being one's personal judge or inquisitor is not an easy one for anybody and not even an autobiography can truly allow an objective look at oneself nor allow the necessary distance to allow unbiased judgments or draw accurate conclusions about one's persona. It is all the more difficult to be held accountable for one's own father's mistakes or even crimes (if any) when one has had no personal direct responsibility in their outcome other than being related to the incriminated person who has or may have committed them. Mohamed Reza Pahlavi was a Shah (King) to many whom some considered as a visionary and patriot, others as a ruthless tyrant; but to Reza Pahlavi he was first and foremost a Father and loving husband to his mother the Shahbanou. Although a Larger than Life Father Figure to many, Mohamed Reza Shah's work and occupation left little time for intimacy and therefore far reaching influence on his son's intellectual upbringing. This seems to have been an asset to Reza Pahlavi's independent education which to a great degree helped him develop his own personality, mindset and interests as well as cultivate his relationship with his own people thanks to not only numerous official trips as a youth in his country but also unofficial encounters with his people that allowed him to understand the soul of a nation. The Revolution in itself was probably another of the greatest lessons in his life as well as in that of many people of his generation, in that nothing is entirely eternal nor should be taken for granted. That even the Throne of the Strongest Kingdom in the Middle East which he were to inherit on his majority could fall apart like a sand castle and in the most unpredictable way.

A much more personal insight into Reza Pahlavi's psychology, life and thoughts was therefore necessary in order to understand not only the man but also what motivates him in pursuing a struggle whose outcome remains uncertain. This is what makes the former Crown Prince's
new Book an interesting read on many levels. It is to Reza Pahlavi's credit to have accepted to boldly and honestly respond to the most difficult and controversial questions regarding not only his father's authoritative reign but also the philosophical ideas, constitutional shortcomings, moral dilemmas as well as the political behavior that sustained his father and grandfather in power. The task of freely and coherently asking the tough but necessary questions to a Man who aspires to leading his compatriots towards a better future and in a competitive and often ruthless political arena in a way that would be both intellectually challenging and without compromise befell on an independent journalist Michel Taubmann. Someone whose political views were not only diametrically opposed to those of the Iranian Prince's father, but who  could also be emotionally detached (due to his non Iranian roots) from any sentimental approach to the way the Prince may be perceived by his compatriots whether in his favor or against him. Thus Taubmann was in a position to push the Prince into facing some of the most darkest and painful corners of his memory both as heir to a dying king but also as an Iranian citizen whose eventual future role in his country's future will inevitably be confronted to very high expectations as well as demands of a people deprived from some of the most basic rights to which many of his exiled compatriots living in truly democratic countries have benefited from and experienced in the past 30 years ... 






TOP AND BOTTOM:  October 31st, 1980, A few Months after his father's death, an emotional but determined Reza Pahlavi holds a Press conference in Cairo where he  assumes the Responsibilities as "Roi de Jure" aka "King by Oath" upon his 20st birthday.




Given this reality, what are Reza Pahlavi's real chances in achieving his claim of overthrowing the Islamic Republic and of serving as he say's as a "Catalyst" for Regime Change (without any foreign military intervention which he clearly opposes) knowing the controversial historical and political legacy of his own father's reign ? Only time and future events in our country can truly answer this question.


Reza Pahlavi: An Iranian Prince of Persia

photocomosition ©DK


What is certain however is that regardless of the political evolutions or transformations that will shape our country in the coming decades the poor record of the Islamic Revolution in delivering much of its widely acclaimed promises in terms of social justice, economic prosperity for all, and more importantly democracy and human rights, have failed dramatically in nearly every area. Whether or not one agrees with this observation, a generation later, one cannot deny that Iranians are entitled to draw an unbiased assessment on the "pros" and "cons  of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 which overthrew the Monarchy in Iran. An assessment that beyond political convictions will nevertheless lead to comparisons between the current political establishment (that is a Theocratic Republic which is barely three decades old) and the Royal institution that preceded it. One which had endured under different dynasties for more than 25 centuries and which greatly shaped our nation's political and cultural identity for better and for worse. This dichotomy between the Monarchy and the Republic (in Iran's case this so called Republic seems to more resemble some kind of Absolute Turbaned Dynasty rather than the Secular Republic to which most modern day democracies refer to) in our national psyche is not unique to Iranians. All nations living under a given political system of government be them Secular Republics (democratic or dictatorial) or Monarchies (absolute or constitutional) have had at some point to look back on the major historical events that have shaped them in order to draw conclusions in favor of maintaining or not their current system of government. Particularly if they have failed to live up to those high democratic standards and expectations of fair justice. However when the system of government in question was established on grounds of delivering democracy in the true sense of the word but fails to do so after one or several generations, one can question its legitimacy however popular at its inception. The Transition towards democracy has not always been easy. In the case of France, the Republic as we see it today was achieved after nearly 300 years of an evolutionary process ever since the French Revolution of 1789. In Great Britain, democracy was achieved following an entirely different path than in France by maintaining the Royal Institution but by enforcing the Parliament's role after major political upheavals no difference than in France where the King was beheaded and a Theocratic Republic ruled the country under Cromwell for several decades before seeing the restoration on the Throne of the former Monarch's son. One can therefore see that the transition from a dictatorial (or totalitarian rule) towards that of a genuine democracy has not followed a similar path in all countries that could serve as an undisputable blueprint in achieving this transition. Nations Are Different and Behave differently given their own political experience and the people's relationship to power. In some cases it has alas been through bloodsheds, in others fortunately more peacefully, earning them the name of "Velvet Revolutions". Having lived under both systems that is equally a Monarchy or a Republic but given that in both cases the democratic practice in itself was alas short lived, Iranians will naturally have to come to terms with their own history, contradictions as well as the realities of their political evolution in the years to come. That is inevitable in order to reach what they at large aspire to and regardless of their ideological preferences and that is a democratic system of government of their choice.


 An Iranian Solidarnosc: Simply a Utopia ? ...
TOP and BOTTOM: A peaceful Transition Towards Democracy in Iran would require a cooperation between ALL Iranians be them known or unknown. Prominent members of Iran's Civil Society or in the Diaspora regardless of professional or social backgrounds, or political preferences could each contribute in their own right in a constructive dialogue to further unity towards a common cause for country:

Democracy with Human Rights.
photocomposition ©DK



Iran's political landscape both inside and outside is divided on how to reach this goal. They do not necessarily have the same approach nor offer the same solutions to this problem. In this context Reza Pahlavi is not the only person to suggest an alternative to the current clerical regime. In the current political juncture he is not leading a particularly homogenous opposition neither which could represent a serious challenge to the regime in Iran.


Strength and Weakness' of the Opposition:


However what at first glance may appear as a disadvantage, is probably Reza Pahlavi's greatest asset: his ability to stand above all political sensitivities and parties so to speak.


Paradoxically I believe that this capacity is dictated less by his political astuteness than by the fact that he has inherited a historical and political legacy which puts him in a unique position in contrast to all other so-called political leaders or aspiring leaders today.


See Videos: Reza Pahlavi gathers 14000 exiled Supporters at the L.A Sports Arena in the Mid 1990's. Such Popular gatherings have been rare since.

Given this fact, the Iranian opposition remains still very much divided between different political sensitivities even if the Gap between the different Secular Democrats be them Constitutionalists and Republican (Jomhurykhah) seems to reduce and that they largely share common grounds in terms of democratic ideals despite differences in shape and form of their ideal government of choice.


And Yet it still appears difficult to dissociate Reza Pahlavi from his Royal heritage. Some Republicans claim that he should give up his Royal titles and run as President in a Democratic Republic, others his first loyal and oldest supporters naturally will never concede on this Royal prerogative. Yet the prospect of a Referendum under international supervision is what maintains them together in a common bond of solidarity in their support for the Former Crown Prince and would be (or not) future King.


That said, regardless of a history's nation one can observe that what often draws critics against the Monarchy as an "Institution" is its "absolute" and "elitist" nature. It would be legitimate to question why a nation may decide to put its future In the hands of one man or women rather than in that of an elected leader so to speak ? This would seem logical were we indeed faced with such a dilemma for instance if a coronation were to take place today or as in the past under an Absolute Monarchy where the King would Crown Himself ( as Reza Pahlavi's father did during his reign). However what makes this question irrelevant today are two major reason's:


1)       At this stage the former Crown Prince is Neither Running for King Nor For President.


2)       Were the people call for a Restoration, he clearly states that he would accept it only as Constitutional King like in Spain or Great Britain where the King or Queen Reigns but Does Not Rule.


Rather than claiming any political responsibility or particular leadership he has been simply suggesting to serve as a "Catalyst" for Regime Change towards a democratic government of the people's choice were this to take place at some stage in the political landscape of our homeland.


Naturally one is free to believe or not in his sincerity particularly if one is a staunch Republican ( Jomhury Khah) and opposes the very notion of seeing a former Crown Prince take such a leading political role particularly if they deem that his father was a despot (a common yet understandable obsession amongst us Iranians I'm afraid, is to think, that "despotism", is genetically inherited. If this is quite recurrent in Shakespeare's plays a closer look at British History ( Elizabeth 1st daughter of King Henry VIII, Charles 1st son of Charles 1st) in particular and European History (King Juan Carlos of Spain descendent of the deposed Bourbon French Kings, as well as nearly all West European Constitutional monarchs who descend from absolute monarchs) in general seems to suggest the opposite, so why should Iran's Royal legacies be an exception to the rule (if "rule" there is) ?). Yet if historians generally agree that the former Shah's reign became dictatorial after the events of 1953 they are more divided as to reasons which led to him choosing an absolute rule over a ceremonial role (which he did have for at least 12 years before the Coup) as in all European constitutional monarchies today.



Indeed there are those who criticize Reza Pahlavi's father for conducting a "Coup" against an elected Prime Minister who was Mossadegh ( Read All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer) claiming that we were actually living in a democratic society so to speak, others who consider it as rather a "Counter coup"  by a "named" Prime Minister (who overestimated his constitutional rights) against his rightful King (The Life and Times of the Shah by Gholam Reza Afkhami, The Unknown Life of the Shah by Amir Taheri).


Which historical interpretation is True? I leave that judgment to the readers who can draw their own conclusions based on their own knowledge and convictions or by reading some of the books I recommend in the authors notes below which present both opposite views each in their own right. 


However the fact remains that historians continue to debate about the Pahlavi era and do take interest in the past in order to understand our current political and intellectual challenges in finding solutions to the ills that continue to inflict our country. Why for instance was a Popular Revolution that was aimed at establishing a Just and fair society and put an end to despotism and Human Rights abuses turned its back on these genuine and noble aspirations by establishing a far more repressive regime than its predecessor in which not only acquired social rights for men and women were set back to at least 50 to 60 years and where the Brutal Imperial Secret Police, the SAVAK was Replaced by the SAVAMA/VEVAK ( better known as Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Keshvar) ?

Also it seems that to this day when it comes to denouncing or justifying the current regime in Iran, the former Pahlavi dynasty's legacy (for good or bad) as well as the utility or not of the Monarchy as an institution, continue to be debated in nearly all political conversations today and in all circles (including by the current candidates with their supporters), proving if needed that the least one can do in order to shape an opinion or definitive judgment about these issues, is to take an interest in the ideas presented by the former Crown Prince be it by intellectual curiosity. This could also help confront/compare his ideas/propositions to those made by members of Iran's civil society who may either share his views (without necessarily being monarchists for that matter) and  who could find common ground on certain issues of concern to all. Particularly in regard to the best ways of achieving democracy in Iran without resorting to violence but rather through civil disobedience.


Such debates over the betrayal or not of the revolutionaries ( particularly those who were secularists) by the clerics or the High jacking of the Revolution itself by radical fundamentalists suggests that one cannot simply dismiss interest in the Pahlavi era and its downfall nor discourage debate over the eventual restoration of the Monarchy (however in its Constitutional Form) as an Institution given the terrible record of the revolution and the successive governments that have led our country since. Thus debate over the eventual political role which Reza Pahlavi could play today and maybe in Iran tomorrow should not be reduced to oblivion only because of our individual personal resentments towards the Monarchy as an Institution nor our collective prejudice towards the former Royal Family. So it seems to me that the possibility of a Royal Restoration ( which is not the present priority nor has the former Crown Prince been calling for at this stage of our collective struggle for democracy) in its Constitutional Form as Opposed to an Absolute Form cannot be seen merely as an unrealistic or an undesirable option for that matter ...


History has followed different paths in France ( Revolution) and Great Britain ( Restoration) to reach the same goal nevertheless: Parliamentary Democracy (**) photocomposition ©DK

Nevertheless and surprisingly to the disappointment of many die hard monarchists it should be noticed that rather than calling for a Royal Restoration (which in itself is not such an unusual concept in an Old Continent like Europe (Spain and Belgium precisely took this road during the 20th century, Great Britain went even further than Iran ever did by beheaded its absolute king Charles 1st , establishing a Religious Theocracy under Cromwell, yet restored the monarchy once again but this time under Parliamentary Rule) at this stage of his campaign it seems that the former Crown Prince is actually calling for the coming to age of an "Iranian Solidarnosc" so to speak. One that like in Poland would see the emergence of a civil resistance movement against the dictatorial rule and which could grow independently outside the current political establishment and thus give birth to its own legitimate representatives in Iran and who could then voice the genuine demands of the people while in turn be supported by the international community.

This is where the Iranian Diaspora could play an active role in informing the medias and influence international public opinion in rallying the cause of Iranians back home. This was precisely the strategy that was used by Lech Walesa and the Polish Solidarnosc movement against the communist dictatorship of General Jaruzelski back in the 1980's. The Unknown Unionist's struggle reached the ears of the international community partly thanks to his connection with an international figure like the then Polish Pope John Paul II who in turn was able to put his own public persona to the service of echoing the movements demands to the outside world. As such John Paul II's role was seen as a "Catalyst" rather than a leader for change. Could Reza Pahlavi (whose mother Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi still remains an extremely popular figure amongst Iranians in general and a fairly appreciate public personality worldwide) play a similar "Catalyst"  role for Iranians at large but as a "secular" public persona who like the Pope during ¨Poland's Darkest hours was able to situate himself above the Political turmoils and internal divisions of Solidarnosc, in order to draw  international support for their struggle against their country's dictatorship? If so, then who in turn could be the Lech Walesa's of Iran ? Or similarly the Nelson Mandela of Iran to whom he could bring his support in a near future ?


These are legitimate questions for which I do not claim to have an answer but they do deserve to be addressed at some point in the future by all parties or individuals concerned if the prospect of an Iranian Solidarnosc becomes a reality. Something which in my opinion is not just an option left to us but an absolute necessity to clarify if we wish to create an efficient civil rights movement based on a minimum of synergy and coherence.  


After a short summary and Press review of Reza Pahlavi's latest book and before you read my English translation of his latest interview in the JDD:Journal Du Dimanche, I chose to display below some of the speeches, interviews presented by other prominent members of the Iranian Intellegentsia particularly in the Diaspora which appear to me as significant and thought provoking and which also seem to share similar arguments as those developed by the former Crown Prince of Iran in "L'Iran: L'Heure Du Choix" aka Iran: The Hour of Choice.


Whatever the outcome in the upcoming elections in Iran, or the future of Iran on the short or long term these different views deserve attention, all the more that the ever thriving Iranian intelligentsia, both inside and outside Iran, belong to all walks of life and age and are each in their own right striving today to help achieve democracy in Iran by calling for more unity and mutual understanding between all and often beyond their own political differences or preferences. All the more that 30 years represents a generation in a nation's lifetime and that in itself, justifies an open-minded attitude on behalf of all those who care for their country's future and tolerant enough to hear what each one has got to say based on their own experiences ...


photocomposition ©DK


May Wisdom and Mutual understanding pave the way towards what we all cherish most a Free and Democratic Iran.


I would like to  conclude with the words of the late Dr. Shahpour Bakhtiar:




And may I Add In the language of the Following French Lumieres Philosophers who inspired democrats worldwide by shaping the only truly functional World Democracies today : Montesquieu author of the Les Lettres Persanes aka Persian Letters, Rousseau the Secular Republican or Voltaire the Constitutional Monarchist (and author of Zadig):














Press Review (& Summary)/ French Media Interviews on Reza Pahlavi's New Book:


Audio/Video: Reza Pahlavi New Book (A TIME OF CHOICE) Q&A With French Media



Tina Ebrahimi: 


The Persian Diaspora website's european columnist Tina Ebrahimi from Netherlands summarizes the book as follows:




"On February 5th, Prince Reza Pahlavi, son of the late Shah of Iran, presented his new book of interviews taken by the French journalist Michel Taubmann. The title 'Iran: The Deciding Hour' describes the political position of Iran at the crossroads.


In order to solve the Iranian crisis, Reza Pahlavi appeals to the international community and especially to Europe. Between the option of the never ending negotiations and a military attack he prescribes a third option, namely the support of the Iranian democratic movement and a dialogue with the Iranian people.


The son of the late Shah exposes his vision of a different Iran which is democratic, secular and integrated in the international community. This includes a project to accomplish a society capable of answering to the aspirations of the Iranian people, the foundation of a democratic parliamentary regime in which the constitution is founded on the universal principles of human rights, the establishment of a nation guaranteeing the liberty of all, a national reconciliation like the model of South Africa, and finally the separation of state and religion.


Prince Reza Pahlavi proposes a democratic process that will lead to a new constitution with which the Iranian people can choose their form of new regime by referendum (parliamentary monarchy or a parliamentary republic).


In order to solve the Iranian crisis, Prince Reza Pahlavi launches an appeal to the international community and especially to Europe.


Between the option of the never ending negotiations of which only the Islamic Republic profits and a military option, that will only have dramatic consequences for the region and the world, there is a third option, less costly and more legitimate: the support of the Iranian democratic forces and not a dialogue with the mullah regime, but with the Iranian people."



 The Struggle for Democracy in the Eyes of prominent members of Iranian Diaspora:

Video: Abbas Milani's (author of The Persian Sphinx and of an upcoming book on the Late Shah) talk will be "Nuke, Kooks and Democracy in Iran: a discussion of Iran's current political situation, and the prospects of democracy, and a resolution of the country's nuclear program." (From 2008)

Video : This is a Very Interesting speach by Dr. Abbas Milani followed by Q&A with the audience on Modernity in Iran and the challenges of the Iranian Intelligenstia in the 20th century. This speach was made in 2005 following the publication of Milani's book Lost Wisdom: Rethinking Modernity in Iran.: Watch Conference Here


Video: Middle East expert's Abbas Milani and USA Today reporter Barbara Slavin argue on why U.S. "surgical strikes" are not a practical option for dealing with Iran's alleged nuclear program. (From 2008).


Charlie Rose - Azar Nafisi, Vali Nasr, Hooman Majd, Ben Sherwood

Azar Nafisi comments on why "Crisis is Good" and the Importance of the "Poetic Vision of a Nation" which could also be applied to Iran and its elections. This is part of a speech centered on her new book "Things I've Been Silent About". The author of Reading Lolita in Tehran (referring to President Obama's election)

Video: Former Shah of Iran's Minister of Education and Chair of Pahlavi University and Prominent Zoroastrian Dr. Farhang Mehr asks a constitutional question from President Khatami back in the , when will Islamic Republic stop discriminating against religious minorities like Zoroastrians? Boston University ( circa 1998)

Video: Zubin Mehta Wold Famous Parsi Composer speaks on Indian TV about his meeting with the Shah of Iran ( see:
pictory: Conductor Zubin Mehta greeted by Shah and Shahbanou of Iran (1967) ) in the mid 1970's (More Here)


The Struggle for Democracy in the Eyes of prominent Iran's Civil Society:

Akbar Ganji speaks at Google Conference on "The Road to Democracy" in Iran and Translator Dr. Abbas Milani  (From 2008)


Amir-Entezam's Proposal for Peace and Human Rights


TOP: Amir Entezam's Letter Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon:


Video: Part of the interview with Iranian reformist MP, Dr. PirMoazen boldly spoke on banned TV VOA Persian ( deemed by the IRI as Anti Regime and Pro Regime Change but watched via Satellite paraboles in Iran) about the parliamentary (Majles) elections of 2008.


Vidoes (Part I, Part II): Ayatollah Montazeri (who was ousted by Khamenei and the Guardian Council as successor to Ayatollah Khomeiny as Velayateh Fagih)  speaks on the massacres of 1988. 


Video: Mansour Osanloo Bus Union Organizer, testifies about his torture by the regime agents, when they cut his tongue and neck to instill fear in others and his supporters.


Interview by Claude ASKOLOVITCH  Translation by Darius KADIVAR ( French Weekly JDD: Journal Du Dimanche)


Reza Pahlavi, the Son of the Last Shah of Iran, warns Israel and the Western Powers of any temptation of launching a war against Iran. The Former Crown Prince hopes for a national upheaval by his compatriots against the mullahs. Opposite the Clerical Regime, he calls upon the democratic ideals and values of the West in the name of similar values that he believes have shaped his own ancient land once Known as Persia. As the campaign for Presidential elections in Iran begin, the "King without a Crown" speaks to The Journal Du Dimanche (JDD).




In his Latest Book: "L'Heure Du Choix" aka "An Hour of Choice" published in French, Reza Pahlavi developed his vision for a Democratic Iran, where the Ultimate Choice on the future form of the democratic system of government would be submitted to a national referendum. Either a Secular Republic or a Constitutional Monarchy similar to that of Spain or Belgium. ©Editions Denoël & photocomposition ©DK



JDD: What do you expect from these elections ?


Reza Pahlavi (RP): Nothing. There is nothing to be expected from these elections which are a farce. To even try and debate about the chances of this or that candidate in a bid to differentiate them from Ahmadinejad is a trap that the mullahs wish everyone to fall for. My country is run by a Mafia, and these elections are simply a show aimed at distracting the international community or any other reason that can prolong their survival through false promises. These elections are Not democratic and cannot be taken seriously by any genuine and well informed democrat. My people already live outside the current system. They either are in exile, like me outside their homeland, others, the great majority, are in exile within their own country and have no other choice but to survive under the current totalitarian conditions imposed on them.

JDD: Yes but they are voting nevertheless ?

RP: Many are forced to vote. Its by Fear that the regime hold on to Power. Many are arrested, people are tortured or physically and psychologically intimidated, and even many clerics are threatened (Notes: Ayatollah Boroudjerdi, Ayatollah Montazeri) or persecuted. Anyone who expresses anything against the regime is threatened. The Presidential candidates are filtered (Notes: Of over 400 submitted candidates only 4 were approved by the guardian council to run for the elections, Facebook blocked then reopened under pressure). They are simply puppets of a system which they want to prolong its survival. If you don't understand this then you will totally miss the point. The clerical regime has long lost the Iranian people's heart. Its populist rant or religious slogans, its extremist behaviour or its military adventurism are no more used merely towards our people. On the contrary it is trying to target it towards the Muslim communities worldwide and the so-called "Arab streets'. A Regime that has lost credibility with its own people is now brandishing the sword of Muslim vengeance amongst Syrians or Palestinians instead.  


But in the meantime, don't you think we would see a difference if a more moderate leader would emerge from these elections rather than a radical minded and anti Western candidate who wants the Atom Bomb ...


RP: What difference would that make ? You wanted to believe Khatami but did he deliver ? Lets be serious what serious reforms did he undertake after 8 years of Power ? Who followed in Khatami's footsteps ? Ahamdinejad !

This is a logic that the regime has always followed in order to perpetuate itself to this day. Compromise with them and you will not only end up in a war but ultimately help the regime's survival.


JDD: Does that mean we should remain tough with your country ?


RP: You need to be tough with the regime Not the People. You should first and foremost give voice to the Iranian people and the civil rights movements that are struggling on a daily basis, so as to give them hope and courage that they are being heard and have your support. 


In short as a nation  "We Want to be Freed, Not Killed !"

JDD: In your opinion Obama is not firm enough ?

RP: President Obama was entirely correct to send a Persian New Year Message to the Iranian People but I regret that he included the Leaders of the Islamic Republic. It proves that in his view he cannot distinguish the People and the Regime. That is regretful. For instance he was not forced to hail the regime's "humanism" when Iranian American Journalist Roxana Saberi was finally liberated. I am not saying that you should not dialogue with regime - diplomacy has its priorities- BUT you need to also open the door to a dialogue with the democratic forces that oppose the current regime .... The West should not renounce on its founding principles by giving some kind of legitimacy or respectability to this evil entity called the "Islamic Republic". A Totalitarian regime does not consider itself as such; yet it cannot remain so forever and  that is why we should encourage its downfall.  

JDD: Do you support a military intervention against Iran ?


RP: NEVER ! Again I repeat our goal is to be freed not killed ! If Iran were attacked it would only strengthen the regime. Needless to say that You would immediately lose both my support as well as that of my people. When Iran was invaded by Iraq, I was in Exile. I publicly offered to fight for Iran as a pilot to defend my country.

JDD: What if Israel Bombed Iran, would you fight against Netanyahu ? (**)


RP: Let me clearly say this to Mr. Netanyahu and the People of Israel: "You know perfectly what Iran represented to the Jewish People. It was the Founder of the Persian Empire, Cyrus the Great, who freed the Jewish people after the conquest of Babylon and allowed your ancestors to reconstruct their tomb. (Notes: He is Awake: Close Up on Cyrus KAR, Story of Esther and Xerxes ).



DON'T BE STUBBORN LADIES: If Indeed Democracy is a Common Cause, then Nothing should stop meetings between "Jomhury Khahs" (aka Republicans be them Reformists or supporters of a Secular Republic) and "Constitutional Monarchists" be them for informal discussions and even debate their differences in an open-minded and

pragmatic approach towards a common goal : A peaceful transition

towards a Democratic system of government in Iran.

The Ball is In BOTH Courts!

photocomposition ©DK



During World War II, when the Nazi's took over Europe, Iran accepted to shelter Jewish families who fled German Occupied Poland ( See The Children of Tehran, Abdol Hossein Sardari Iranian Diplomat who became known as the Iranian Schindler). During WWII we were the Only country in the region to behave like this (The tragedy that became known as The Holocaust was not yet known in all its horror until the liberation of the Concentration Camps in 1945).


Video: Tribute to Cyrus the Great at UCLA: fundraising event for completion of Cyrus the Great a documentary by Cyrus KAR with participants Abbas Milani, Nazanin Afshin Jam and prominent members of the Iranian Diaspora

And Now the very people we saved and were friends with throughout our history wish to Bomb Us ? This is outrageous !


JDD: Yes but If Israel or even the West were threatened by Iran ...


RP: Look, I understand all these worries. But I am asking you to look at things realistically and from a political perspective. Go to the depth of the question here: This Regime MUST Go ! Stop presenting my people and our religion and culture as evil. Iran is Not this regime. Shi'ism is Not this Regime. Even Islam is Not this Regime ! Iran is enslaved by a Totalitarian State. This totalitarian system is persecuting my people and threatening humanity at large. It must be overthrown. A democratic Iran will be a threat to no one.


J.D.D: How can we get there ?


RP: Though Trust ! By trusting the Iranian people at large.



Bridging the Gap with His People: Reza Pahlavi, spends the Persian New Year with fellow compatriot refugees in London, May 21st, 2005. "Trust the Iranian People Not the Regime", say's Iran's Former Crown Prince. 



We will overthrow the regime through a revolution. This change will be the least violent possible and will emerge through civil disobedience. The sacrifice will be ours, all we are asking you is your moral support to achieve this. This regime is less stable than what you think. The economy is bad. The social and political oppression will sooner or later trigger a popular upheaval. At some point even the Revolutionary Guards (The Pasdaran) will have to let go. The regime will then fall just as in most East European Countries after the Cold War. 



Reza Pahlavi a "Catalyst" for Change ? Only Time, his own determination and Stamina as well as ultimately the People's Choice can answer this question ! ... 

©, Reza Pahlavi



Authors Notes:


(*) Link to Original Article in French (JDD: Journal Du Dimanche)


(**) Although In France it is more accurately Semi presidential-parliamentary system which has underwent and continues to undego revisions and reforms: today they live under the 5th Constitution, that gives more power to the President than the previous constitutional drafts)

Official Website of Reza Pahlavi:

Books By Reza Pahlavi:

L'Iran L'Heure Du Choix aka Iran:The Time to Choose, (Latest Book in French soon to be translated into English) is available on




Winds Of Change: The Future of Democracy in Iran is available on (and French Translation: Pour L'Iran available on


Books About Reza Pahlavi:


Reza Pahlavi By Christian Malar and Alain Rodier is available on


Other Recommended Readings:

Bon Anniversaire Votre Majesté!: Shahbanou Farah Celebrates 70th Birthday with Family By Darius KADIVAR

La Princesse Noor d'Iran: Un Coeur à Prendre ! by Darius KADIVAR

A Gift To All Persians! By Darius KADIVAR
When Giants Meet: The Queen of Persian Pop greets the Shahbanou of Iran in NY Live Concert by Darius KADIVAR
Remembering Princess Leila Pahlavi by Darius KADIVAR


Iran/Persia and the Jewish People (**):
Iranian Diaspora Intelligentsia Unite Against Islamic Republic's Holocaust Revisionism by Darius KADIVAR
Esther's Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews by Houman SARSHAR (
He is Awake: Close Up on Cyrus KAR by Darius KADIVAR
Xerxes: A Screenplay by Ren A. Hakim by Darius KADIVAR
Documents on Iranians Saving Jews During WWII (

Human Rights:

The Struggle Continues!: Nazanin Afshin Jam's  Stop Child Executions Campaign in Iran and Beyond By Darius KADIVAR
Prisoners Of Conscience Akbar Ganji A Hero Similar To Yves Montand Portrayal In Costa Gavras' Film " The Confession " by Darius KADIVAR

BREAKING THE WAVES: Iranian Women of the Diaspora Seduce French Media By Darius KADIVAR

Iran, Jews and the Holocaust The beneficent legacy of Persia remembered by Abbas Milani (San Francisco Gate)


Books On Pahlavi Era (Royal Autobiographies):
Answer to History by Mohamed  Reza PAHLAVI, The Shah of Iran
An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah: A Memoir by Empress Farah Pahlavi
Palace of Solitude by Princess Soraya Esfandiary Bakhtiary
Faces in a Mirror: Memoirs from Exile by Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, The Shah's Twin Sister
Mon pere, mon frere, les Shahs d'Iran : Entretiens avec Son Altesse Impériale le prince Gholam-Reza Pahlavi by Prince Gholam-Reza Pahlavi ( The Shah's Brother) with Iman Ansari and Patrick Germain


Books On Pahlavi Era (Biographies/AutoBiographies/Diaspora/ General History):
The Shah and I: The Confidential Diary of Iran's Royal Court, 1968-77 by Asadollah Alam and Alinaghi Alikhani
The Memoirs of Ardeshir Zahedi: From Childhood to the End of My Father's Premiership (Farsi Edition) by Ardeshir Zahedi
The Life and Times of the Shah by Gholam Reza Afkhami ( For a comparative study I would recommend you also read below Stephen Kinzer's book)
All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer (For a comparative study I would recommend you also Read above Gholam Reza Afkhami's book)
The Unknown Life of the Shah by Amir Taheri (1991)
Nest of Spies: America's Journey to Disaster in Iran by Amir Taheri
Mossadegh And the Future of Iran by Houshang Keshavarz and Hamid Akbari
L'Iran Deux Reves Brises by Houshang Nahavandi, In French (1981)
Carnets secrets : Chute et mort du Shah (Broché) by Houshang Nahavandi, In French (2003)
The Shah's Last Ride by William Shawcross

Eminent Persians: The Men and Women Who Made Modern Iran, 1941-1979 (2 Volume Set) By Abbas Milani
A Mirror Garden par Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian et Zara Houshmand
Esther's Children: A Portrait of Iranian Jews by Houman SARSHAR (
The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution by Abbas Milani
Iran and the Rise of the Reza Shah: From Qajar Collapse to Pahlavi Power by Cyrus Ghani
State and Society in Iran: The Eclipse of the Qajars and the Emergence of the Pahlavis (Library of Modern Middle East Studies S.) by Homa Katouzian

Blood & Oil: A Prince's Memoir of Iran, from the Shah to the Ayatollah by Manucher Farmanfarmaian and Roxane Farmanfarmaian

Books By or About Iranian victims of Revolutionary Terror:

Nocturne iranien : Mémoires d'exil du colonel Bidgoli Rad, de l'armée de l'air impériale iranienne By Claudine Monin-Krijan ( a Touching autobiography written in French with the help of a French journalist by a former officer of the Imperial Iranian Airforce but was also a Veteran of the Iran-Iraq War and his adventurous departure from Iran in a bid for Freedom for himself and his family)
Even After All This Time: A Story of Love, Revolution, and Leaving Iran by Afschineh Latifi (Highly Recommended Read by a daughter of an executed Colonel in the Shah's Army by the Revolutionary court)

SAVAK (Shah Of Iran's Secret Services) Replaced By VEVAK, The Notorious Islamic Republic's Secret Services (sometimes referred to as SAVAMA and in Persian Vezarat-e Ettela'at va Amniat-e Keshvar):
Vevak, au service des ayatollahs : Histoire des services secrets iraniens by Yves Bonnet ( former head of France's secret Services from:1982 - 1985)


Books By Opposition Leaders:

Ma fidélité By Shahpour Bakhtiar (In French published in 1982)
Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance by Manouchehr Ganji

Books By Civil Society Activists, Journalist, historians:
Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir by Abbas Milani

The Road to Democracy in Iran (Boston Review Books) by Akbar Ganji, Joshua Cohen, and Abbas Milani
Iran Awakening: One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Country by Shirin Ebadi and Azadeh Moaveni
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Things I've Been Silent About: Memories by Azar Nafisi


About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant. He is also contributes to OCPC Magazine in LA/US and to the London Based IC Publications The Middle East Magazine and Persian Heritage Magazine.

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