Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Reza Pahlavi: Unity of Iran's Popular Forces More Important than Unity of the Opposition

Reza Pahlavi: Unity of Iran's Popular Forces More Important than Unity of the Opposition

Saturday, 4 June, 2022 - 11:00
Iran’s Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi.

Reza Pahlavi, Iran’s Crown Prince, delivered an address to the Iranian people from Washington DC on June 3.

The biggest alternative to the Islamic Republic are the Iranian people who continue their protests despite oppressive measures of the Iranian regime and shutting down of the internet, Pahlavi said at the press conference that was attended by reporters and political activists.

Asking the military and armed forces to stand by the Iranian people, he stressed that the Iranians abroad should be a voice for the people of Iran.

They should subtitle the videos coming from Iran in the language of the countries they reside in and ask the politicians in their countries to support the protests of Iranian people, Pahlavi added.

Pahlavi’s message was being broadcast live from social media and also Persian-language media based abroad. He also responded to questions by reporters.

Camelia Entekhabifard, Independent Persian’s Editor-in-Chief, was among the attendees and asked: “As you know, in gatherings and protests, many groups speak of you and the Pahlavi dynasty. Given the popularity and influence you have amongst the people, why have you not been able to form a coherent organization consisting of anti-regime political opponents? You spoke of effective strategies inside the country. Please tell us what effective international strategies do you suggest for other countries and the world to recognize the protest movement of Iranian people for overthrowing of the regime? Finally, what’s your prediction of Iranian conditions in the coming year?”

“I believe the most useful thing I can do with my credibility and with the trust my fellow Iranians put in me is to support their demands, give voice to them and strengthen their forces,” Pahlavi replied.

“I don’t claim to be a political leader and give them a blueprint. I have tried for years to bring more coordination to the opposition. Although, the opposition was different in the past than today. My definition of the opposition then is also different from my definition today. As I have said before, today, the real opposition are people inside Iran.”

“The opposition’s previous factionalizing is not the main concern of people of Iran,” Pahlavi remarked.

“Thus, more important than the opposition is the unity of national and popular forces. The opposition that has failed to unite so far is of no use to the Iranian people. An opposition is useful when it knows that, for political competition in the future, it should first create common ground for a political system and popular sovereignty; a rule of law that they could politically compete under.”

“If everybody just does their own things and follows their own demands in a totalitarian way, it will never get anywhere. It won’t be constructive or useful but will bring sabotage.”

Speaking of today’s changed conditions, Pahlavi said: “Most of the people who will help run the country politically and administratively are currently inside Iran. Many of them are even inside the system. Their heart is not with the system and they don’t have an ideological belief in it. But they have come to the conclusion that that the regime is not the answer. Yesterday’s reformists are no longer seeking to reform the system; they must be able to join the secular-democratic forces.”

Continuing his answer to the Independent Persian, Pahlavi spoke of the need for “national solidarity and national reconciliation.”

“Those who seek a better tomorrow must not be separated from one another. We shouldn’t let people be left behind,” he urged.

“But those who have been partners in crime of this regime and have had a hand in crimes of the regime, whether politically or militarily, must be accountable before the Iranian people,” Iran’s heir to the throne demanded.

To reach a better future, events of the past should not be a “basis for enmity and opposition,” Pahlavi declared.

“The concern of youth who are losing their lives on the street is not focused on the decades-old differences of this or that political current. This is not their bread and butter. This won’t be an answer to them or a solution for their future.”

“I won’t waste a second of my time on people who are still part of the problem,” Pahlavi said. “I will dedicate all my time to those who want to be part of the solution. Even those who were revolutionaries yesterday. Everybody has the right to change their opinions. This is among the fundamental principles of freedom and human rights.”

Pahlavi continued: “The freedom we seek today will be reached if we seek the full potential of the Iranian people. There can be no basis for this other than unity and collaboration.”

“A win-win scenario would be to align the majority of society with this vision. A society will never ever be one hundred percent united. This hasn’t happened anywhere. But I believe that what is happening in Iran today and the demands of the Iranian people is the voice of a majority; So I don’t see why this solution won’t work.”

According to Pahlavi, the only people standing against the demands of the majority of the Iranian people for change are those “who seek to keep power for themselves the bitter end” and “their numbers is increasingly dwindling.”

He said the society itself had recognized “that the regime is scared” and this is why despite the oppression and killing, people today have less fear compared to the 2017 and 2019 movements. He said this was due to “the struggle waged every day by the Iranian people; a struggle in which we all have a role.”

Pahlavi said he had tried to play his own role in all the previous years: “I have always been a voice for my fellow Iranians. By giving advice and suggestions for joint work; By having relations with all political and civic currents in the country.”

“Most importantly, I have tried to do more listening from the people than talking to them. Whatever I’ve said has been based on my understanding from the demands of my fellow Iranians, especially the young generation. This is the future generation that will inherit the country.”

“I have tried to keep this torch burning for 40 years. We should pass it on to the next generation so that they won’t be without shelter, purpose and future. Iran will one day be ruled by this youth. They must know that they are not alone and have hope that the future is theirs; the cost they are bearing won’t be in vain.”

Editor Picks