Friday, July 03, 2009

Iran Realities And Prespectives

Opening Remarks

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Thank you for coming. Thank you for your time, and attention to the cry for freedom and democracy in Iran. The past three weeks, my brave compatriots have paid in blood the price of ripping the façade of acceptability of the regime in Iran, and its legitimacy to speak for the people of Iran abroad. The ensuing murderous oppression can silence the streets, and media blackout can reduce world attention. In the West you may see headlines declaring the end of the protests. Some will say a family quarrel inside the Islamic regime is over and Mr. Ahmadinejad will govern Iran for another four year term. But they misread the situation. Although more demonstrations may pop up, and the 10th anniversary of the student uprising on July 9th is a date to watch, phase one, that is election-related mass demonstrations is over. But let me clarify what phase two, which is the phase of national resistance, will look like:

Viewed as a usurper in his second term, Mr. Ahmadinejad's increasing insecurity at home will compel him to invent foreign enemies, further isolating Iran. Compounded with low oil prices, the need for slower liquidity growth to limit spiraling inflation, with massive capital flight and a drained stock market, and a further hemorrhage of skilled managers, just to name a few problems, he will face insurmountable obstacles in running the day to day affairs of government. He will need a minimal cooperation of the people for the ship of state to sail on. Instead he will find burgeoning resistance everywhere, until his government grinds to a halt.

Disappointed and alarmed, influential clerics, important parliamentary factions and other institutions will question his ability to cope and undermine his authority from within the Islamist state. That final paralysis will mark the end of the second phase.

It is hard to predict the third phase. Will a part of the Revolutionary Guards move in to fill the vacuum created by a collapse of authority and a functioning government? If so, the regime will be reduced to an unsustainably narrow base of support, expediting its fall. Will strikes spread and re-energized mass demonstrations sweep the country, compelling the authorities to yield to public pressure toward a new democratic order? No exact scenario can be written at this stage, but the end is clear.

Fast rewind to today, let's acknowledge that the path is perilous. The regime has just appointed a three-man commission to punish those involved in recent demonstrations. The commissioners are men responsible for tortures and summary executions of thousands of my countrymen some twenty years ago. After all of these years, the sounds of rape, torture and dying in Iran's prisons haunt my countrymen. And now those men are back.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Today I am asking you to help put the spotlight of international attention on their dastardly deeds in the weeks ahead. This may be the only way of impeding the cruelty of this regime against those whose only crime was peaceful assembly and expression, including women campaigning against being treated as something halfway between man and animal in their courts. For I fear that out of the daylight of world media, the nightmare of two decades ago will return.

Your second contribution is keeping your political leaders informed about the range and brutality of the oppression in Iran. Your governments have insisted that they would not interfere in Iran's internal affairs. I applaud that. Any such attempt will give the tyrants the excuse they need to paper over their own differences and target anyone struggling for freedom as a foreign agent. But that is not all they do. They are painting every statement in defense of human rights as foreign interference. They benefit from the confusion between the two. It is vital that the free world not fall for such cruel cynicism in the name of realpolitik. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights knows no national boundaries. Its defense is not only a moral issue, but a mutual obligation of all governments who are its signatories.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A movement was born on the 22nd of Khordad in my calendar and 12th of June in yours. It is not Islamic or anti-Islamic, it is not for capitalism or socialism, nor any other ideology or specific form of government. It cares little about historical squabbles before its birth. It is about the sanctity, even more, the sovereignty of the ballot box. By certifying fraudulent election results, the Supreme leader and the Guardian Council have spent their authority against the movement. They stand in the people's way, leaving no bridge behind. The movement may not succeed immediately. It will have its ebbs and flows. It may not control the street for now. But it will not die.

The Spirit of the movement will permeate every home and workplace, public and private, grinding the government to a halt until there is no exit for tyrants, but yielding to the victory of human rights and democracy in Iran.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I stand before you today to ask for your solidarity with my fellow Iranians on their march towards liberty and justice.

Reza Pahlavi, has been leading a campaign of none-violent defiance against the theocracy of Iran, he is an accomplished jet-fighter pilot, author of three books, in Farsi, English and French, and father to three daughters.

Press Conference – Paris, France