The British Parliament Center for Opposition Studies - Opening Statement By Reza Pahlavi of Iran
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 by Reza Pahlavi
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Center for Opposition Studies
16th Jan 2013
Reza Pahlavi of Iran
I, along with the interim representatives of the National Council of Iran would like thank the distinguished members of the committee who have given us the opportunity to be able to share with you our goals for freedom and democracy.
In past decade the legitimacy of the clerical regime has extremely declined and the "Presidential Election" was the last nail to this regime's coffin. Exhausted from the repetitive game of choosing from the lesser of the two evils, Iranians poured to the streets demanding more. The clerical regime once again reacted by mass arrests and crushed the newly born Green Movement. However, the relentless youth continued to resist. Following the fiasco of 2009 I focused my attention to this movement and the current generation and their demands. Suffice it to say that the ultimate solution lies beyond this regime.
With the perspective that no entity or organization in direct defiance of the clerical regime could form within Iran, it was imperative to establish one outside of Iran in order to support and coordinates civil disobedience movements in various sectors of the society in Iran, an entity that can also be a conduit for dialog and communication with the international community. As such, international governments as well as private citizens would be able to work with an entity that represents a democratic alternative to the clerical regime.
Despite various diplomatic attempts to pressure the regime to alter its course, particularly with regards to its nuclear agenda and despite a multitude of escalating economic sanctions, the regime has thus far survived – albeit limping along. However even under such pressure continues to be a threat of instability to regional and even the world. With the clock ticking and the nuclear “red-line” fast approaching, the prospects of a military conflict may be looming in the near future. I have long believed that there is a way to avoid war and resolve the problem at the same time: a policy of engagement, this time with the democratic forces in Iran, and direct support for the Iranian opposition, thus bringing pressure on the regime from within.
It is the combination of sanctions and support for a democratic alternative that can be a win-win scenario for the free world and the Iranian people. I would like to be perfectly clear here: We are not asking the international community to support a policy of regime change. However, we are asking the international community to support the legitimate and rightful demands of our citizens to have free and fair elections in Iran. With this goal, in the past two years I have collaborated with many activists both within and outside Iran in order to create a National Council with the sole mission of continuing our campaign for free elections.
At this stage there are only two options:
1) The clerical regime surrenders to domestic and international pressure and voluntarily concedes power and allows for a peaceful transition. This scenario is clearly unlikely (witness to this is its repressive methods within the country and its support for the Syrian regime)
2) A campaign of civil disobedience backed by international support to overthrow the regime and clearing the path for a secular parliamentary democracy and restoring national sovereignty and self-determination in Iran.
In this phase of our national struggle for freedom, my proposition to my fellow compatriots and the international community is a campaign led by the National Council of Iran with the aim of resolving the main issue.