National Press Club

Iran's Pahlavi Predicts Ballot Box Will Defeat Supreme Leader

June 23, 2009 | By Peter Hickman |

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Reza Pahlavi, son of the former shan of Iran, told a June 22 Newsmaker that the continuing anti-government demonstrations in his home country mark the "birth of a movement" that is not Islamic or anti-Islamic, capitalistic or socialistic, or part of any ideology. Rather, he said, they are is about "the sanctity, even more, the sovereignty of the ballot box."

The former crown prince of Iran also said journalists should not underestimate the role they can play in the outcome of the situation.

"International media are already the information artery connecting different parts of the freedom movement in Iran," he said. That is why the Iranian government only allows officially-approved media reports to be sent out of the country, jams electronic transmissions and restricts internet traffic into the country, he added.

But, Pahlavi said, "only an information blackout can isolate individuals so that they can be oppressed separately." Thus, the outcome of this struggle will depend on (the free media's) ability to "fight their blackout with the light of information."

Another contribution the media can make, he said, is to keep their countries' political leaders informed about the "brutal violence of the regime's plain-clothes thugs against unarmed people." In this aspect, Pahlavi said, "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights knows no national boundaries. Its defense is not only a matter of ethics, but a mutual obligation of all (signatory) governments."

No one benefits, he said, from "knives and cables cutting into the faces and mouths of our young and old, or from bullets piercing our beloved 'Neda'," the young woman whose shooting death in a street demonstration was shown around the world.

Referring to the demonstrations as the "Movement of the 22nd of Khordad" -- which corresponds to June 12 -- Pahlavi said they are "invested with the blood of my brave countrymen, with energy and support in every corner of Iran and the globe" and "will not rest until it achieves unfettered democracy and human rights in Iran."

He also said the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, "decided to stand as a man in front of this movement, sanctioning the theft of the ballot box and flagrant fraud, all in the name of Islam." It was, Pahlavi said, "an ugly moment of disrespect for both God and man. It will not stand. The citizens of Iran will not stand for it. And in the end, (Khamenei) will not stand."