Clockwise: Reza Pahlavi, Masih Alinejad, Ali Karimi, Hamed Esmailion and Nazanin Boniadi

Debate Continues Over Resignation From Iranian Opposition Alliance

Monday, 04/24/2023
Maryam Sinaiee

A British Iranian journalist and political analyst and a regular contributor to Iran International

Hamed Esmaeilion who resigned from the Alliance for Freedom and Democracy in Iran Friday blames Prince Reza Pahlavi for resisting majority’s organizing efforts.

In an interview with Iran International TV Saturday evening, Esmaeilion who had not directly mentioned the exiled Prince as the reason for leaving the alliance a day earlier, named him as the person with whom he had disagreements and left the group.

Prince Reza Pahlavi has not responded to Esmaeilion’s accusations yet.

Esmaeilion claimed that the “near absolute majority” of the members of the alliance sought the formation of specialized committees and drawing up articles of association for the alliance, but the Prince “resisted” such initiatives and instead demanded that the alliance should only give support to political organizations formed outside it.

“Another problem was that discussions within the group leaked out … The tweets that Mr Pahlavi posted in the past two, three weeks transferred internal discussions outside although we were still discussing the issues,” he said.

Prince Reza Pahlavi said in an April 4 tweet that he had submitted a letter containing the names of additional prospective members to give a voice to those who were unrepresented in the alliance. In another tweet on April 10 he reported that members of the group had not come to a consensus regarding the said candidates.

Calling this a setback, the Prince had also said that he would work with other individuals and groups “to amplify the voices of all Iranians, adding that he would not limit himself “to one group” and stand behind “all groups who believe in ensuring Iran's territorial integrity, who want human rights for the Iranian people, and who believe the future government of Iran should be a secular democracy, the form of which should be decided by the Iranian people.”

Prince Reza Pahlavi has not publicly named his proposed candidates but some of his his supporters who call themselves ‘constitutionalists’ allege that Esmaeilion opposed the inclusion of football legend Ali Karimi at the time of announcement of their association.

They allege that Esmaeilion opposed the inclusion of London-based journalist Amir Taheri and Germany-based musician and activist Shahin Najafi.

There is also the accusation that Esmaeilion resigned because of Prince Pahlavi’s recent trip to Israel.

In his interview with Iran International, however, Esmaeilion denied the allegation that he had announced his resignation Friday, immediately after Prince Reza Pahlavi’s visit to Israel, “to undermine his achievements.”

Some constitutional monarchists seem pleased by Esmaeilion’s departure from the alliance. “From now on fresh blood will enter [the veins] of the pragmatic front of the opposition. This is a very positive development!” one of the supporters of the exiled Prince tweeted.

“Esmaeilion’s departure from the alliance has another aspect, namely, if the project of restoring constitutional and parliamentary monarchy in the future, is realized, it will again result in autocracy,” another tweet said.

It also accused monarchists of not having the capability of cooperating with those in favor of a future republic. “The problem is in the theory of monarchy, which does not prepare the ground for pluralism.”

In recent years, the former crown prince did not lay claim to the throne, and at least on one occasion he said his own desirable government would be a republic rather than a monarchy, but many of his supporters, who always refer to him affectionately as ‘The Prince’ see him as the future king of the country.

NOTE: In the earlier version of this report it was erroneously said that Prince Reza Pahlavi had proposed US-based Amir-Hossein Etemadi as a candidate for the Council.

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