Why I Support Reza Pahlavi

14 2008

Why I Support Reza Pahlavi

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Milano: Since starting Iranian Freedom, I’ve been looking for a chance to discuss my support for Reza Pahlavi’s efforts to bring democracy and human rights to Iran and my ideas about monarchism in general. My recent reading of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense has inspired me to do so. I strongly support Reza Pahlavi and believe he can contribute a great deal to the cause of freedom in Iran. Here’s my reasoning: - 1. Uniting the opposition: Reza Pahlavi successfully articulates the shared goals of the Iranian opposition, which has long suffered from fractious disputes. In response to world events, he emphatically and consistently argues the cause of Iranian freedom, while sensitively messaging his ideas in ways that unite, rather than alienate, the diverse Iranian opposition community. - 2. Limited mandate: Since beginning his work, Reza Pahlavi has insisted on his limited mandate. His life’s work, as he has repeatedly declared, is devoted to bringing the Iranian people to the point where they can have a free referendum to decide their fate”€œand nothing more. Of course, I’m not so naive as to believe that Reza Pahlavi does not have ambitions of power. After all, he still styles himself a pretender to the Peacock Throne. Nevertheless, I’m willing to take him at his word, at least for the moment. As I’ve mentioned in my Core Values page, we cannot be sure what will follow the I.R.I. and decisions regarding what form of (democratic) government should follow the I.R.I. should be left to the Iranian people to make. At this point however, we should not dismiss the leadership Reza Pahlavi can provide to the opposition over a debate (republic vs. monarchy) that is, frankly, of no consequence to the battle we are fighting today. - 3. Looking forward: One of the most appealing aspects of Reza Pahlavi’s work is his forward-looking, positive vision for Iran. The Pahlavi legacy carries a lot of baggage. Reza Pahlavi”€œwho hadn’t even reached the age of 18 before his exile”€œtoday presents a way forward for Iran without pushing any corny nostalgia for the pre-’79 days. In other words, he is a leader who is fully aware of the “urgency of now,” to use Dr. King’s phrase. - 4. Neither invasion nor appeasement: the people of Iran are privileged to have in Reza Pahlavi such a strong advocate in the West. Reza Pahlavi recommends that the West look to the Iranian people as their strongest ally in the fight against Islamism in general and the I.R.I. in particular.

Moreover, he correctly points out that there is no need for costly military action against the regime when supporting democratization from below can do the job much more efficaciously. His recommendations for how the U.S. and Europe should deal with Iran represent an alternative to the hawks/doves dichotomy that has dominated the regime change debate. Reza Pahlavi’s consistent stances on Iran-related issues highlight the fact that he is a man of character and integrity and certainly not an opportunist. I hope I’ve been able to make a convincing case for what may initially appear like a contradiction: support for a monarch despite my doubts about monarchies. (12/01/2008 “Iranian Freedom” http://iranianfreedom.wordpress.com )


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