Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Al-Watan Daily: Interview With Reza Pahlavi Of Iran

Q1- What is your evaluation of the current Iranian policy in general?

A1- One has to look at the fundamental nature of the clerical regime in order to understand its true and ultimate intentions. Since its advent in 1979, the regime’s leaders – starting with Khomeini himself – set out to export their radical ideology to the region and beyond. The primary mission (raison d’être) of the regime is to convert other regimes to its own mold with the goal of establish a modern-day Islamic Shi’ite Caliphate. It is so stated and defined in its Constitution as well as that of the Pasdaran’s (Revolutionary Guards).

To accomplish this, the regime has to a) maintain repression domestically; and b) create diversions internationally (region) to shift attention away from its own shortcomings.

Q2- Do you aim at regaining the throne of Iran?

A2- To me it is the content and not the form of Iran’s future government that matters most. My current political mission and role is the leading of a vigorous campaign against the clerical regime with the sole goal of forcing its demise, replacing it with a modern, secular, democratic parliamentary system. This mission will end, in its current form, the day my compatriots go to the polls and freely choose for themselves their desired form of representative government. Beyond that point, my fate will be decided by the Iranian people whom I stand ready to serve in whatever capacity they deem me fit.

Q3- How do you evaluate the recurring executions carried out in Iran?

A3- The regime maintains its suffocating grip over the citizens by using brute force and repression of dissent. Gruesome acts of public executions are barbaric methods and chilling reminders of the fate of dissenters in Iran. Through fear and humiliation, the regime commands submission. Public stoning of women and the execution of underage youth are revolting reminders of the regime’s callous disregard for human life, dignity and civility.

Q4- What is your vision of the relations of Arab countries with Iran?

A4- First and foremost, a democratic government which would inherently be answerable, accountable and responsible to its citizens would be compelled to create and maintain an atmosphere of warm and sincere relationship with its immediate neighbors. Coveted for our energy reserves, our region has been subject to the tugs of rivalries and manipulations between East and West, or North and South, as during the Cold War. Today we have a variation of the same conflicts manifesting themselves in different forms including the danger of militancy and proliferations of an arms race.

We must address our futures collectively by rebuilding our alliances, strengthening our cultural bonds, resolving old conflicts, and investing within the region. Time heals all wounds as strong roots breed new life. Our history and destinies are inseparable deeply rooted and a common bond of tradition. I am hopeful in my generation and have seen among my good friends in the region the real possibilities that await our horizon.

Q5- How do you find the Iranian threat to the gulf countries regarding using the sleeping cells to carry out violent actions?

A5- This is the unfortunate nature of the militant regime ruling my homeland. Its commitment to the export of its ideology takes many forms; the most troubling of which is the free use of terrorism and support of militancy as a tool of foreign policy. To reach its grand vision of Shi’aa hegemony, it will not hesitate to use any method necessary to convert its neighbors, even at the expense of destabilizing them.

Q6- Where do you classify Reza Pahlavi in the Iranian opposition list?

A6- Simply that my role is inclusively unique, in that I play a pivotal role in unifying all factions on common grounds and against one common enemy.

Q7- Do you expect an American attack against Iran?

A7- I have vociferously rejected and expressed my opposition to any kind of military action against my homeland! There is a much better way – far less costly and more legitimate – to put an end to the principal source of militancy in our region: Supporting the people of Iran, as the most natural ally to the free world in their quest to rid themselves of the clerical regime. A combination of domestic pressure coupled with a cohesive international economic and diplomatic pressure will enable the people of Iran, an “army in place,” to rid themselves of the regime. It however very much concerns me that due to the mounting domestic problems the regime is faced with, it may in fact invite and seek such a confrontation.

Q8- What is your stance regarding the Iranian nuclear activities?

A8- It is quite telling that the very same countries which used to compete with each other to sell nuclear energy technology to Iran prior to Islamic Republic are today joining force to impose sanctions on the clerical regime in an attempt to prevent it from possessing it! This issue is about transparency, trust and accountability.

The clerical regime’s three decade long track record, its totalitarian nature, its domestic repression, its support for terrorism, its regional adventurism and lack of transparency on the very subject has rightly caused the international community to suspect the regime’s intent.

The regime plays on the nationalistic argument of Iran’s sovereign right to the technology. They need to be reminded that Iran had that right before they came to power. As a matter a fact, it is their behavior which is the cause for Iran today to be denied the privilege. For a regime that has violated just about any international charter and regulations, they cannot invoke the NPT only when it suits their purpose, and violate it by the same token when it does not.

But let us understand the ultimate logic behind the regime’s quest for the bomb. Be it via manufacturing or acquisition, the clerical regime views the bomb as its key to survival. Why? Because it will serve as a counterweight to the inferiority of its conventional military capabilities against the West. Under a nuclear umbrella, the regime would be able to continue its support of terrorism, undermine the region, holding it hostage with the ultimate goal to institutionalize itself.

The question is can the world afford that moment? I do not think so.

Q9- What is your view of Arab ethnicities in Iran?

A9- Iran is a country of 70 million people. It has been for centuries a mosaic of different ethnic groups, cultures and religions. The richness of Iran’s civilization stems from the many cultures and ethnicities we have. Out identity is an actual collection and infusion of multiple unique identities that have lived together through the ages.

From my point of view, whether Kurdish, Arab, Balouch or Azari, whether Shia, Sunni, Christian or Jewish, every Iranian citizen has to feel and be equal under the law, with full protection and practical sense of common ownership and belonging to the nation. The only way to guarantee this is through the rule of law and practice of a democratic, secular Constitution based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is what I subscribe to, and have pledged to attain for my homeland.

Q10- Do you dream of being shah of Iran? If it happens, how will you deal with the gulf countries, especially Kuwait?

A10- I dream of helping liberate my homeland from this transient medieval system of clerical rule. It is the Iranian people whose dream and decision will determine the final form of our future constitution and government. Having said that, and in view of my homelands culture and history, I am confident that a modern constitutional monarchy, similar to that of Japan, Spain, UK and Sweden, will be perfectly capable in institutionalizing democracy and help usher in modernity, progress and development.

As to Iran’s regional policy, it will, of course, be set by our future government and shall be reflective of the will of the Iranian people who aspire to a strong bond and friendly relations with all our neighbors. Personally however I am fully certain that a different era awaits our region, one which will be based on friendship, security and prosperity for our peoples. Relationships are based on individual decisions and actions. My generation will not loose a day or an opportunity to reach out to our neighbors. We have little time to waist and it can only be spent on building friendship and trust, and not by breeding conflict.

As for Kuwait we are particularly proud of the strong bond and friendship that exits between our two people with so many of our families having built strong foundations of common heritage through extended multi-generational linkage.

Q11- What is your vision to the Iranian dispute with the Emirates over the three islands?

A11- Again, we have much more in common with our Emirate brothers than needs to be built upon. The era of conflict and confrontation will be replaced with one of trust, friendship and regional prosperity.

Q12- Do you think that Iran interferes negatively in the Iraqi issue?

A12- Clearly there is plenty of circumstantial as well as concrete evidence pointing to this fact. The reason for this is two folds: a) the clerical regime could not have sat aside idly and watch its neighbor set the precedence of stability, modernity and a secular democratic state; b) the ability to sustain chaos gives the Islamic republic to set the stage for an opportunity to replicate itself in a land which is home to Najaf and Karbala, shiism’s two holiest cities.

Al-Watan Daily (Kuwait)
Ahmad Zakaria
Tuesday, November 27th, 2007