Iran’s exiled prince Reza Pahlavi, who has become a leading opposition figure since the start of Women, Life, Liberty movement, during a rally against the Islamic Republic in Washington in 2022

‘Iranians Ready To Sacrifice for Revolution,’ Pahlavi Says in Interview

Tuesday, 05/28/2024

Iran’s exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi has unequivocally declared his desire for regime change in an interview with Germany’s Spiegel magazine.

Pahlavi says the Iranian people are willing to make sacrifices for a new revolution to overthrow the Islamic Republic “because they know that their country is doomed” otherwise.

“The question is not whether the regime will disappear, but when, and whether we have given Iranian society the maximum support,” Pahlavi insisted.

The latest interview is part of Pahlavi’s recent media tour, which seemingly began amid escalating tensions between Iran and Israel.

Describing the 2022 nationwide protests as transformative, Pahlavi said, “The last uprising was already a revolution” and an “authentic reaction against the oppression.”

In its crackdown on these protests, Iranian security forces killed at least 550 protestors, including children, and imprisoned over 20,000 people.

Pahlavi emphasized that the Iranian state is “weaker than ever,” with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who represents the system, rejected by at least 80% of Iranian society.

In the extensive interview with foreign correspondent Susanne Koelbl, Pahlavi was also asked why the various factions of the exiled Iranian opposition have failed to agree on a common approach and with whom he cooperates.

Pahlavi, seemingly avoiding the second part of the question, stated that when he “appears with representatives of the opposition, as recently at Georgetown University in Washington,” he views it as “symbolic cooperation.” He emphasized that the “great unity in Iran and a common vision” are “more important” to him.

Earlier this month, Pahlavi had noted that extreme factions of the right and the left within the opposition to the regime are preventing unity.

Pahlavi reiterated his call for Western governments to maximize support for dissidents and activists in Iran while increasing international pressure on the regime through sanctions. He also reaffirmed his support for listing the IRGC as a terrorist entity.

Discussing the aftermath of a potential revolution in Iran, he advocated for a general amnesty for a peaceful transition, ensuring accountability for certain individuals.

When asked whether he wanted to offer “opportunities” to potential defectors, Pahlavi emphasized his goal to “lose as few lives as possible in the process.” To achieve this, he argued that the resistance of those holding weapons must be minimized.

“If the rulers try to commit a genocide at the last minute, the Iranian security forces must become a shield for the population,” he said.

Pahlavi Distances Himself From Father’s Legacy

Pahlavi noted that there are clear signs indicating that many Iranians have revised their previous stance on the monarchy's legacy and that younger generations desire change, despite the decades of Islamic indoctrination they have faced since 1979.

When the interviewer confronted Pahlavi about his views on the violence perpetrated by Savak, the secret police and intelligence service of Iran during the reign of his father, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Pahlavi acknowledged that while there is legitimate criticism of Savak, there is also a “disproportionate exaggeration of facts, especially from radical Islamists and Marxists.”

“They had an interest in discrediting the government, which was largely pro-Western and did not align with their ideologies. Historians should work this out,” he said.

When the interviewer insisted that much is already known about Savak's actions, Pahlavi distanced himself from his father's legacy, emphasizing his own plans and vision, and asserting that he should be judged based on his own proposals and actions.

“I am not my father. I have my own plans, my own vision, and I should be judged by what I propose,” Pahlavi said.

Pahlavi had previously supported certain policies of his father, highlighting that among those detained by Savak was Iran’s current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.

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