Exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi urges Iranian people to start civil disobedience


WASHINGTON: Iran’s exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, the oldest son of former Shah of Iran, wants the Iranian people to rise up against the regime and initiate a process of civil disobedience.

He asked Iranian people to establish a parliamentary democracy based on democratic values, freedom and human rights.

In an interview with Fox News, Pahlavi said, “What I am calling upon is a process of civil disobedience, which is a method of change. How? By bringing domestic pressure on the system. If enough people refused to cooperate, like Indians in India during British time, when they can paralyze the system by massive sustained labor strikes across the nation, that is not shooting bullets in the streets,” he said.

He added that the “method of change can be by non-violence, civil disobedience provided that it is nurtured and cared for.” He noted that such mass movements have upended power structures from the collapse of the Soviet Union after the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the end of apartheid in South Africa. Pahlavi said there is no reason that a wave of popular support cannot topple the theocratic regime in Tehran, in a similar manner.

“History is full of such examples,” Pahlavi notes.

“If change during the cold war was not ultimately, how do we defeat the Soviet system? How do we assist the dissidents? How do we empower or encourage the people who are trapped behind the Iron Curtain? None of these people would ever be heartened enough to ultimately roll of their sleeves and say: ‘Hey you know what? We are not abandoned anymore.’ From Sakharov to Solzhenitsyn all the way to the others, they said ‘hey, you know what? The world is not going to put up with it.’”

“Nelson Mandela was rotting in his cell in South Africa while half the world was doing business with the apartheid regime, until a point that the people in the world said, Basta!, enough, it is no longer acceptable.”

Pahlavi said just like opposing past repressive regimes, Americans can take the lead in pressuring Tehran. He sent a letter to then President-elect Trump, hoping that his “administration will bear in mind the aspiration of the Iranian people and engage the secular democratic forces, providing support for the struggle of my fellow compatriots for peace, freedom, and democracy.”

“The more they hear about what the Iranian people demand, not what the regime wants, but what the Iranian people demand, they will in turn tell their congressmen, senators, and decision makers, ‘What are you waiting for? These people are like us! They don’t want to come here and destroy us, or blow us to pieces or wipe a country from the map, they want to be like us!’”

Pahlavi also said that more should have been done to encourage the resistance during the so-called “Green Revolution” in 2009, when Iranians massed the streets demanding a free and fair election.

“If the people on the streets are holding up slogans, in English or in French, they are not practicing their linguistic skills, they are sending you a clear message. They were chanting on the streets, ‘Obama Obama’… in Farsi, (which) means either you are with them or you are with us. Make a choice. I think the choice was not to heed the call of the people.”

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