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Iran’s Exiled Prince Urges Global Support for Iranians Over Military Action

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Iran’s exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi told the international community on Saturday that if diplomacy fails to resolve the current crisis in the region, the only viable option is to support the people of Iran.

The prince who is a top opposition leader, also mentioned that extremist factions on both the right and left within the Iranian opposition are hindering unity among groups with different persuasions.

While the Pahlavi family seems to enjoy a large measure of popularity in Iran, many among the Iranian opposition call themselves republicans and are opposed to the restoration of monarchy. Prince Reza Pahlavi has not advocated a return to constitutional monarchy, always insisting that after the downfall of the Islamic Republic, the people should decide the type of the democratic political system they prefer.

Prince Pahlavi was speaking in London at “The Future of Iran: Challenges and Solutions”, with several political activists in attendance in London.

At the beginning of the meeting, he stated, “The countries of the world should know that if diplomacy has failed, the main solution [to the Middle East crisis] is not military action but rather support for the people of Iran.”

Israel has threatened to attack Iran’s nuclear facility if the Islamic government obtains nuclear weapons, but Mr. Pahlavi in his speech ruled out the option and urged support for the people to overthrow the Islamic Republic.

An undated photo of protests in Iran

He highlighted the disagreements among the political groups opposing the Islamic Republic, saying, “In a place where we know there are differences of opinion and taste, the people will make the final decision. It is the people who will decide the future of Iran.”

However, he highlighted the importance of adhering to “rules of the game,” stating that there are certain basic principles, among which “human rights are the most important.”

He identified a secular political system and the territorial integrity of the country as other basic principles essential for uniting Iranian secular democratic forces.

Prince Reza Pahlavi emphasized that extremist factions on both the right and left of the opposition to the Islamic Republic prevent unity among the forces opposing the current regime in Iran.

After the 2022 nationwide uprising against the Islamic Republic, the Council of Solidarity for Democracy and Freedom in Iran held its first meeting at Georgetown University in Washington DC on February 10, 2023.

This council, which included diaspora members like Prince Reza Pahlavi, Hamed Esmaeilion, Shirin Ebadi, Abdullah Mohtadi, Masih Alinejad, and Nazanin Boniadi, published its “Charter of Solidarity and Organization for Freedom” on March 10, 2023.

The council eventually disbanded due to the departure of some of its members.

Masih Alinejad, a journalist and civil activist, previously commented on the breakdown of this coalition, saying, “Not only do Westerners have this question, but the people of Iran too, wondering how foreign governments can trust an opposition that is scattered like driftwood.”

In February 2024, Hamed Esmaeilion spoke to Iran International about the reasons for his withdrawal from the Solidarity Council, stating that while the majority wanted to advance plans through the formation of specialized committees, a constitution, and mechanisms, there was “resistance from Mr. Pahlavi.”

However, Prince Reza Pahlavi stated, “We must be able to show the countries of the world that we are not lacking in capability and management,” adding, “We can show the world that there is another way besides attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities.”

He referred to the changing positions of the reformist forces in Iran, saying, “Even the reformists have become disillusioned with this regime and are looking for a point of connection with the opponents of the regime. Those whose hands are not stained with the blood of the people should have guarantees for the day after the regime’s collapse.”

In June 2022, the son of Iran’s last Shah once again called for the unity of the people to overthrow the Islamic Republic, emphasizing respect for the diverse opinions and groups of the people, saying, “We should disavow those who engage in obscenity and confront ugly behavior with obscenity.”

During recent years’ nationwide protests, many protesters supported the Pahlavi regime, especially the founder of the dynasty, Reza Shah, chanting slogans like “Reza Shah, may your soul be joyful.”