Iranian opposition figures who have recently formed a united front against the Islamic Republic have once again called on other countries to cut ties with the regime.
During a conference in the European American Press Club (EAPC) in Paris on Wednesday, Prince Reza Pahlavi said that if Western countries adopt the policy of “maximum support” for the current protests, the regime will not last long. It would take months as opposed to years, if the international community stands behind the popular protests.
He called for tangible measures to support the Iranians who are out on streets for over five months now such as providing the means for better flow of information and internet access and establishing funds to back the striking workers in the country. Pahlavi suggested that the Islamic Republic’s assets frozen in foreign banks because of sanctions can be used for such purposes.
About his tour of Europe along with fellow dissident figures to garner support for the uprising, he said the voices of the protesters in Iran and the diaspora should be heard by politicians from all across the political spectrum. He referred to his Tuesday meeting with two French senators from different parties, saying the entire political establishments of countries should stand behind the people of Iran.
The question is no longer who will replace the Islamic Republic, but how to overthrow the regime, Pahlavi underlined.
He emphasized that people of Iran do not seek foreign interference and military attack, but want support for their movement against the clerical regime, which can manifest itself in acts of civil disobedience, strikes in different industries and defection among the ranks of the military, especially the lower ranks.
Prince Pahlavi urged the international community not to continue negotiations with the Islamic Republic, saying that instead of seeking the regime’s change of behavior, governments should seek regime change in Iran.
Reiterating the call for designating the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, he said that it will bring security to the region because its destabilizing activities will decrease. He added that regional countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, and even Lebanon, which are affected by the destabilizing role of the IRGC, should ask Western countries to list the outfit as a terrorist organization.
He referred to the resolution overwhelmingly passed by the European Parliament in January, expressing hope that European states would act on it and designate the IRGC.
On Monday, an estimated crowd of about 20 to 30 thousand people held a rally in Brussels outside the European Council to call on EU countries to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Thousands of Iranians from all over Europe held a massive rally in Strasbourg in January for the same purpose. Also on Monday, the EU sanctioned 32 Islamic Republic officials, including culture and education ministers, deputy IRGC commander, and several MPs. The move can be seen as a measure to justify the fact that the EU is not yet ready to designate the entirety of the IRGC.
Women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad speaking during a rally in Rome on February 22, 2023
A few hours after Pahlavi’s conference in Paris, two other opposition figures, women’s rights activist Masih Alinejad and Canada-based activist Hamed Esmaeilion addressed a huge rally in the Italian capital Rome. The demonstration in Rome took place a day after the two held a panel about the uprising in Iran at the Italian Senate.
"People of Iran, we are all sentenced to death under the shadow of the Islamic Republic for the crime of being a woman, being gay, being a Jew, being a Baha'i, etc,” Alinejad said, referring to the regime’s persecution of minorities during its 43 years of rule. Calling for unity, she reminded the crowd that they are gathered together from all walks of life and with different ideologies under the banner of “Women, Life, Liberty.”
Esmaeilion talked about freedom as the main goal of the uprising, saying that justice is only achieved in freedom. "Don't be disappointed if they don't put the IRGC in the list of terrorist groups right after a big demonstration," he said, urging more efforts to push world countries toward further isolation of the regime and its most important arm, the IRGC.
He once again demanded the expulsion of the Islamic Republic’s ambassadors from Western countries, noting that "with or without the help of democratic countries, we will topple the dictator."