February 18, 2023

The son of Iran’s last shah says the Islamist regime is splintering


Sonja Gillert, Christine Kensche, and Nahal Toosi
Reza Pahlavi posing for a portrait.

A lot of people understand how crucial my role can be in a transition. But that has nothing to do with whether we have a republic or a monarchy in the future. People automatically assume that I’m the candidate for the monarchy. Not necessarily. If my choice is between a secular republic elected by the people versus an institution that is still based on hereditary transition, I cannot reconcile that with democratic norms.

The negotiations for a new nuclear deal are stalled but Iran is enriching uranium as we speak. Is there any advice you’re giving foreign leaders on how to deal with this?

Our argument is: The best way for you to eliminate the danger once and for all is to eliminate the regime. Because how trustworthy was the regime before, even after signing some agreement? During the Obama administration, we saw the released funds going to the various brigades in Lebanon or Syria instead of serving the country’s interests. Time is running out. And we have an opportunity now with the Iranian people themselves to put an end to the problem once and for all.

In Israel, there was lately a very large military exercise together with the U.S. People are talking about the so-called military option to end Iran’s nuclear program …

… which is a nightmare. Particularly at a point when the people of that nation say, “Hey, we are in the streets, help us get rid of the regime.“ How did we put an end to apartheid? At some point, we came to the defense of those who wanted an end to it. How did we put an end to [Gen. Wojciech] Jaruzelski in Poland? By helping Lech Walesa and company in their Solidarity movement.

Why shouldn’t Iran be part of the same rationale? We are already putting our lives on the line and losing people every day. Work with us. You have the best army in place: the people. The minute this regime goes, we’ll be working hard to achieve stability. We need to work with the Israelis, with the Arab neighbors. We need to work with the Europeans on energy matters and security matters.

Can you imagine going back to Iran?

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