At a press conference in WashingtonD.C. yesterday, Prince Reza Pahlavi hailed Iranians for imposing their “ will not only on the streets of Iran but also in the decision and policy-making rooms across the globe.”
He called for further efforts to boycott and isolate the regime internationally and for “maximum support for the Iranian national revolution.” Mr Pahlavi asked for the expulsion of the regime’s ambassadors and diplomats and the appointment of special representatives to engage the Iranian nation instead of fruitlessly negotiating with the regime.
The Prince said that he had written to António Guterres, the UN’s Secretary General, asking for his support in forming a commission of inquiry at the Human Rights Council to investigate the Islamic Republic’s crimes. He had also written to Catherine M. Russell, executive director of UNICEF, calling for establishing a special inquiry into the murder of children and the suppression of students in Iran. He also announced the formation of several funds to support protests, strikes, and the provision of freedom of communication.
Mr. Pahlavi insisted that the protestors’ “decentralized management” rather than “individual or centralized leadership” has tired the regime’s security forces. “I am pleased that my insistence in recent years on the replacement of an individual-centric focus with a system-centric focus is being shown, in practice, by you on the Iranian political scene.”
He said that “the regime’s medieval mindset is not compatible with governance in the twenty-first century” and that its “ corrupt government has no solutions for the exhaustive list of problems it has caused.”
Pinpointing the need to be ready for the day the regime falls, the Prince underlined the necessity to form a “factionally diverse interim government” that has the “capacity for pluralistic collaboration” to set the cornerstone of democracy in Iran.“ The interim government should take measures such as guaranteeing people’s freedoms and rights, solving people’s livelihood problems, regulating foreign policy to ensure Iran’s interests, and holding a referendum to determine the form of a secular, democratic government.
Mr. Pahlavi once again insisted he “will not seek power or a political office” and in future elections, he “will not support any party, organization or form of government over another.”
Addressing the armed forces of the Islamic Republic, especially the “Iranian Army,” the Prince said: “If you cannot yet publicly join the people, you have, at the very least, a responsibility to disrupt and paralyze the regime’s suppression apparatus. This is both your national and ethical responsibility. Act on the oath you swore and, as soon as possible, step away from this failing regime and its hapless leader.”
The following is the full text of Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi’s speech, delivered at the start of the press conference..
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The transcript of the Press Conference
The Power of the People, United
October 20, 2022
Thank you to the members of the press and guests for joining us today.
Greetings to you the girls and boys, women and men, of our beloved homeland Iran who, with your unparalleled unity and with your brave and aware movement, have amazed the world and inspired it to action.
The ring of your revolution has inspired the admiration of the world. From politicians and celebrities in the world of art and sport to writers and academics and other celebrated international names have stood up to support you.
In the modern era, the world has never shown such support for a popular movement in the face of tyranny. Not in the Russian people’s liberation from communism. Not in the Arab Spring. We have never, in any democratic revolution in the past century, seen every member of the French parliament rise in respect, nor such fiery speeches in the European or German parliaments.
And it is among just the first fruits of your solidarity and unity that has forced even the American government to so quickly alter its position on Iran. In the past month you have imposed your will not only on the streets of Iran but also in the decision and policy making rooms across the globe. You have shown that no government can ever decide Iran’s fate against the wishes of the Iranian nation.
It is unendingly sweet for me to see that the unity I have, for decades, insisted must take shape has come into existence and is bearing fruit.
Your movement has also crippled the regime’s propaganda and narrative formation machine. Your unity, my compatriots, has stifled the regime’s plans to sow division and discord.
They wanted women to be slaves to men but you, Iran’s women, with the support of your husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons have started the first women’s revolution in history.
They, through attempts at class division and intimidation, said that if we aren’t in power, lower class youth will loot the houses of the well off. But we have seen that compassionate citizens have opened the doors of their homes to those very youth. Indeed it was the clubs and weapons of the regime that smashed the windows of the cars and the walls of the people’s homes and it was the so-called security forces but in actuality insecurity forces who harmed the people’s livelihoods.
They said that if we go, Iran will become Syria. But, you, the united nation, across Iran showed that you are a source of refuge and support for one another. You proved that with ethnic, linguistic, sexual, ideological, and religious diveristy you are an indivisible nation.
With its fear mongering about the threat of separatism, it pointed its accusatory finger towards our Kurdish and Baluchi compatriots. You, however, across the four corners of Iran have beaten the drums of unity and chanted: “Sanandaj, Zahedan, you are the guiding light of Iran!” You have taken the anthem “Women, Life, Freedom” from Kurdistan province to the rest of Iran and have made Jina (Mahsa)’s name and image the symbol of your revolution. And in a word, you have proven the slogan “my life for Iran” true.
With its ominous aim of inciting armed conflict, they have aimed their weapons on Zahedan, Sanandaj, Saqqez, Bukan, Marivan and have fired missiles and sent drones to attack Kurdish parties on the other side of the border. The united front of all Iranians, who have become a single body and an unyielding tree against the crimes of the regime, also foiled this plan.
The Islamic Republic, from its first day, has employed all of its forces to sow discord between Iranians at home and abroad and it has expended every effort to discredit any work abroad to support compatriots at home. You, however, have shown that the impact Iranians abroad can have on international policy is one of the pillars of the movement at home.
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians in more than 150 cities around the world have come to the streets with incomparable unity and have had an important impact in the improved policies of foreign governments in relation to Iran’s national revolution. It was the protest of 50,000 Iranians in Toronto and those in other cities across Canada which resulted in that government’s decision to sanction 10,000 of the regime’s oppressive forces– an unprecedented event in Canadian history.
But these initial victories must not stop. Rather, it should be a starting point for further efforts to boycott and isolate the regime internationally and for maximum support for the Iranian national revolution. To call, with one voice, for the expulsion of the regime’s ambassadors and diplomats and the appointment of special representatives to engage the Iranian nation instead of fruitlessly negotiating with the regime.
These are the demands I have made, in particular in my meetings and conversations in the past month, of policymakers and lawmakers.
Alongside this, the formation of funds to support protests, strikes, and the provision of freedom of communication is another means of supporting the people of Iran which I have personally advised the formation of for years. Today, I can announce to you that several of these funds are at the final stages of formation and the creators and managers of these funds are currently working to remove the final legal barriers, particularly to send support inside Iran, as soon as possible.
To that end, it must also be noted that satellite Internet technology such as Starlink, which as of now has several active terminals inside Iran, will be a critical assistance to our compatriots in keeping in contact with one another and with the outside world. Free, non-governmental Internet is not only critical for the victory of these protests but also for Iran’s future. It is important in guaranteeing that no government will ever be able to trample upon the freedoms that were bought with the blood of our youth.
Here, I emphasize that today anyone, who in any way thinks of sowing discord in the people’s united front only adds to the life of the Islamic Republic and, intentionally or unintentionally, helps this bloody regime take more lives.
At the beginning of this month, I called on the Secretary-General of the United Nations to support the formation of a commission of inquiry at the Human Rights Council to investigate the Islamic Republic’s crimes and to identify and hold to account those who have committed them. Such a commission must remain active and impactful until the consolidation of democracy that defends human rights in Iran.
Furthermore, in a letter yesterday to the executive director of UNICEF, I called on this United Nations entity to establish a special inquiry into the murder of children and the suppression of students in Iran. What occured in Ardabil and other cities in Iran is indicative of crimes against humanity and systemic child abuse. Those who ordered and committed such crimes must be identified and held to account.
While the ultimate responsibility for the regime’s crimes lies with those who gave and executed the orders, those of you who wear our nation’s uniform, particularly those of you in the army, have a responsibility to defend the people and to defend their lives. If you cannot yet publicly join the people you have, at the very least, a responsibility to disrupt and paralyze the regime’s suppression apparatus. This is both your national and ethical responsibility. Act on the oath you swore and, as soon as possible, step away from this failing regime and its hapless leader.
My compatriots, you have arrived at the conclusion that this regime’s medieval mindset is not compatible with governance in the twenty-first century. A corrupt and incompatible government has no solutions for the exhaustive list of problems it itself has caused.
But what is the alternative to this regime?
In my speech on June 3rd of this year, I said that the greatest opposition and alternative to the Islamic Republic is you, the Iranian nation. who criticized me and said that a nation cannot manage itself, now admire how you have brought about such coordination, solidarity and unifying slogans. Your capacity for decentralized management which has tired the regime’s security forces is a unique characteristic of this generation belonging to the communication age. A generation that has learned the skills for decentralized management and that does not demand or even require individual or centralized leadership. I am pleased that my insistence in recent years on the replacement of an individual-centric focus with a system-centric focus is being shown, in practice, by you on the Iranian political scene. I hope that this process, the growth of which we are seeing in the current phase, will be consolidated and fully implemented in Iran’s democratic future.
The day will arrive when the arrow of power will fall from the regime’s hands and from this very moment, we must be ready. It is clear that the interim government, more than anything else, must have popular legitimacy, particularly among you, today’s generation, who with your revolutionary movement have shaken the foundations of the regime.
Furthermore, the interim government must prove its factional diversity and capacity for pluralistic collaboration. Otherwise, it will be unable to properly set the cornerstone of democracy in Iran.
The Iranian interim government must, by utilizing the necessary collection of experience and capabilities, be able to execute these duties and responsibilities:
– Securing the people’s confidence to establish calm, peace, and national security
– Law enforcement and transitional justice
– Guaranteeing the people’s freedoms and rights
– Solving the people’s immediate welfare needs
– Arranging the necessary foreign policy to secure Iran’s national interests
– Holding a referendum to determine the form of secular, democratic government
It is conceivable that any pro-democracy force that is excluded from the process of forming the interim government will not consider the elections for the Constituent Assembly and the government created by its approved laws to be free and fair.
Therefore, the interim government must be formed by individuals and political groups who have the ability to collaborate with one another, not those who are opposed, in advance, to the right of others to participate and would preemptively attempt to limit the democratic and equal right of participation of other citizens.
My conscience permits me to say this as I have never, I do not, and I will not seek power or a political office and since in future elections I will not support any party, organization or form of government over another. If I were to, you would be right to consider whatever I say in my own personal political interest. But all democratic political theories and forms of government, to me, are honorable. What matters for me is the victory of popular sovereignty.
After more than 43 years of humiliation, oppression, and poverty thanks to the effort and solidarity of the youth of our nation, we have all been given new life. I have no doubt that in the light of popular sovereignty, the unique human and natural wealth of our nation, Iran’s future will shine bright. Iran, this bejeweled land, will once again be proud and well-regarded and will once again stand proudly under our national flag.
Victory depends on our perseverance and unity.
Long live Iran.