By Kayhan Life Staff
On June 3, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi took part in a press conference on recent developments in Iran, including support for widespread protests against the Islamic Republic rule and how the international community has reacted to these events.
“The greatest opposition and alternative to the Islamic Republic is inside the country and is the people themselves,” Reza Pahlavi said.
Speaking directly to the families of protesters killed in nationwide protests in recent years and those who died after a building collapsed in southwestern Iran, he said: “Your astute slogans [chanted] during your courageous protests for liberating the country show that you have identified the root of the problem and also know the solution.”
On May 23, the 10-storey Metropol residential and commercial building collapsed in Abadan, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, killing at least 37 people and injuring scores of others. Iranian authorities have reportedly arrested dozens of people, including the building contractor and the current and two former Abadan mayors. The incident sparked nationwide angry protests.
“You have realized and gained a collective awareness that the Islamic Republic’s incompetence, corruption, and ineffectiveness affect people’s lives not only in one city, a province, an ethnic group, or a particular faith, but also harm all Iranians,” he said. “The Islamic Republic’s missiles target all Iranians, irrespective of ethnicity or religious belief.”
The crown prince cited the collapse of the Metropol building, banning the import of approved Covid-19 vaccines during the height of the pandemic, and the downing of Ukrainian commercial flight PS752, as examples of the Iranian regime’s incompetence and warned that the Islamic Republic would cause more destruction.
Ukrainian commercial flight PS752 was shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) air-defense missile system near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on Jan. 8, killing all 176 people on board.
“Today, I can say with utmost confidence that I am not worried about the day after the Islamic Republic is gone because I can see that despite the regime’s efforts to ban activities and impose restrictions on Iranians and young people, there are enough specialized workforce, managers, and experts to run the country,” the Crown Prince reassured Iranians.
“Today, the greatest opposition and alternative to the Islamic Republic is you, the Iranian nation, who are united more than ever and march shoulder to shoulder for a better future regardless of your political tendencies — leaning to the right or left — or pro-monarchy or pro-democracy beliefs. You deserve the best, and you will achieve it,” Reza Pahlavi added.
In his opening speech, the crown prince spoke about the lack of organization in the Iranian people’s movement to topple the Islamic Republic regime.
“The absence of a decision-making nucleus that could organize protests, strikes, and coordinate a widespread movement was evident in last month’s protests,” Reza Pahlavi noted.
In a segment of his speech titled “an ultimatum to a despotic regime,” he said: “The [Islamic Republic] regime is on its way out. The former Soviet Union, with all its massive nuclear arsenal, collapsed. This regime, which cannot even provide bread for its people, will not have a different fate.”
“Don’t bet on a losing horse. Don’t think that no one knows you. You will not evade justice by claiming that you were following orders. Every single one of your crimes is documented and will be investigated. I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity and join the people,” Reza Pahlavi added.
Reza Pahlavi called on the Iranian army to protect the nation against a domestic enemy, as it has always done against foreign threats. He also urged Iranians living abroad, particularly artists, to be the people’s voice and help organize protests.
In the second part of the press conference, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi answered questions from various news outlets.
Asked by a reporter from Voice of America (VOA) whether he saw any difference between recent and previous protests, he said the people were fed up with the Iranian regime and were ready to act, and it was vital for the media to report that.
“Responding to a question from our reporter, Crown Prince Pahlavi said people’s readiness and regime’s incompetence had reached an all-time high, but lack of coordination amongst the protesters was obvious,” VoA Farsi tweeted on June 3. “He urged political forces to prioritize their efforts and organize their work against the Islamic Republic according to collective wisdom.”
Asked by the London-based Persian-language channel Iran International about the mechanism by which actions between opposition forces are coordinated, the Prince compared the conditions in Iran with those portrayed in Victor Hugo’s (1802-1885) French historical novel Les Misérables. He explained that the Iranian nation was fed up with the Islamic Republic because the regime could not even provide its people with essential food products.
“Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi [said]: ‘People are paying a dear price today that will not go to waste. [They must] demand their rights because it is not given,’” Iran International tweeted.
He said that the most crucial point was to fill the vacuum created after the fall of the Islamic Republic, adding that while people will play a vital role in forming future conditions, it would be imperative to have leadership.
Reza Pahlavi clarified that by leadership, he didn’t mean one-person rule, and therefore, it was imperative to create conditions that would allow all forces to plan and manage the situation. He warned the process remains unfinished if political parties and leaders fail to prepare themselves for the roles they must play in the country’s future.
Kayhan London asked Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi if he thought the efforts to unify forces should include movements and people who didn’t oppose the 1979 Revolution itself but only the Islamic Republic, given the hardship Iranian society has endured and its desire to construct a future based on the achievements of Pahlavi era and those predating the Islamic Revolution?
“I believe there are two groups active in the political arena. The first group is composed of people who are part of the problem and obstruct unity and solidarity. The second group includes those who want to be part of the solution and are ready for cooperation,” he answered. “In my new covenant, I extend my hand to all freedom-seeking political groups, even those who oppose me, because we need to achieve a shared future through national unity.”
“The [Islamic Republic] has polarized society, pitting people against each other. But we do not want to fight with each other,” Reza Pahlavi said. “Let’s not forget that holding opposing views doesn’t make us enemies. We can disagree without becoming enemies. The enemy is the person who wants to rob us of our shared rights.”
The following is the full text of Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi’s speech, delivered at the start of the press conference.
A conversation with fellow Iranians.
Greetings to all my compatriots.
The courage and unity that you, my fellow citizens, have shown in the past month despite the severe crackdown and blocking of the internet in cities and provinces remind me of the resilience and resistance the Iranian nation showed against Saddam [Hussain] military during the eight-year [Iran-Iraq] war. However, this time around, you have no weapons and face an enemy who does not live in Baghdad but a group of corrupt criminals living in Iran.
Today, I’m speaking to you as an Iranian who has devoted more than four decades to liberating his country – without having any personal motives — and has no other wish but to see a proud and prosperous Iran and the Iranian nation. This sense of duty is a response to the love and sincere kindness you, my fellow Iranians, have shown to my family and me during the past years.
I want to start by offering my sympathy to the people of Abadan, particularly the grieving families who lost their loved ones in the tragic [collapse] of the Metropol building. I also want to remember those who perished while fighting for the freedom and rights of the Iranian people during recent protests in [the southwestern province of] Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, [the western province of] Lorestan and Khuzestan. They joined the country’s courageous martyrs in December 2017 and November 2019 protests.
My fellow Iranians,
Your clever slogans [chanted] during your courageous protests to liberate the country, show that you have identified the root of the problem and know the solution. You have realized and gained a collective awareness that the Islamic Republic’s incompetence, corruption, and ineffectiveness affect people’s lives not only in one city, a province, an ethnic group, or a particular faith, but also harm all Iranians. The Islamic Republic’s missiles target all Iranians, irrespective of ethnicity, religious belief, or religious beliefs.
We witnessed this in the street protests and the downing of Ukrainian commercial flight PS752, the criminal banning of the import of approved Covid-19 vaccines during the height of the pandemic, and the tragic collapse of the Metropol building. Unfortunately, the longer this regime stays in power, we will see more similar incidents.
Today, I can say with utmost confidence that I am not worried about the day after the Islamic Republic is gone because I can see that despite the regime’s efforts to ban activities and impose restrictions on Iranians and young people, there is enough specialized workforce, managers, and experts to run the country.
Those who worry about an alternative to the Islamic Republic don’t think that there are people among a population of 85 million who can replace those who only deliver sermons from dawn to dusk? I am certain there are.
Today, the greatest opposition and alternative to the Islamic Republic is you, the Iranian nation, who are united more than ever and march shoulder to shoulder for a better future regardless of your political tendencies — leaning to the right or left — or pro-monarchy or pro-democracy beliefs. You deserve the best, and you will achieve it.
Being hopeful about the future doesn’t mean that the Iranian nation’s fight to overthrow the Islamic Republic lacks nothing, and the road to victory will be smooth. For instance, the absence of a decision-making nucleus that could organize protests and strikes and coordinate a widespread movement was evident in last month’s protests.
Naturally, those fighters who work in the field and are at the center of the protests are much better positioned to make crucial decisions. I call on political action groups to prioritize their efforts and organize their work against the Islamic Republic according to collective wisdom. I would support such efforts.
I have a message for the country’s army, which cannot express its sentiments openly, although it is united in spirit with the Iranian people.
You can help the people and protesters from inside the system. For instance, you can anonymously publish helpful information to protesters and opposition groups while adhering to safety and security measures. You can disclose the methods used to crush protests and reveal the names of those responsible. You can disrupt the regime’s oppressive machine. Identify many like-minded groups and openly announce you are joining forces with the nation at the right time.
I also want to issue an ultimatum to the despotic regime.
The [Islamic Republic] regime is on its way out. The former Soviet Union, with all its massive nuclear arsenal, collapsed. This regime, which cannot even provide bread for its people, will not have a different fate. Don’t bet on a losing horse. Don’t think that no one knows you. You will not evade justice by claiming that you were following orders. Every single one of your crimes is documented and will be investigated. I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity and join the people.
I want to say a few words to the Iranian army, which has always been prepared to defend the nation with their lives.
You must protect the nation against a domestic enemy, as you have always done against foreign threats. I believe in your patriotic feelings.
During the last month’s protests, Persians, Arabs, Lurs, and Bakhtiari stood shoulder to shoulder and expressed their anger toward their common enemy. I call on the leaders of prominent tribes and ethnic groups, including Baluchis, Lurs, Bakhtiari, Kurds, Arabs, Ghashghae, Turks, and Turkmens, to unite and lend their support to the courageous people who pour into the streets.
In conclusion, I would like to speak to the Iranians living abroad.
We Iranians have no other help but each other. Our fellow compatriots living in Iran are struggling to make ends meet. They are risking their lives by rising against the criminal cult. Under such conditions, we must stand in solidarity with our fellow compatriots living in Iran, not only in our hearts and with words but also with action.
We can take the following actions:
- Let the international community hear the voice of the Iranian people in various languages on social media. Publish and share photographs and video clips of protests in Iran with subtitles in the language of the countries where you live.
- Call and send emails to media outlets, lawmakers, and government officials in the countries you live in and raise their awareness about the Iranian people’s quest for freedom and democracy. Urge them to support the protests in Iran.
- Use legal means, verifiable evidence, documented cases, and a dignified approach to expose the regime’s elements and supporters abroad. Don’t allow fake propaganda by the regime’s defenders to replace the truth about the events taking place in Iran.
- Provide financial help to protesters, political prisoners, and families of those who perished in the protests to the best of your ability. Even a small donation can make a big difference in their lives.
- The pain of losing a loved one is excruciating — I know. Every family in Iran has lost a loved one to the Islamic Republic. I call on lawyers and social activists to help the families of political prisoners and those who have lost loved ones.
- Organize marches in solidarity with nationwide protests in Iran. I especially call on our creative community to take part in such events and make the voice of the Iranian nation heard through their art.
I invite all organizations trusted by Iranian communities living abroad to put aside their political differences and join the effort to rescue Iran. Our unity today will guarantee our freedom tomorrow.
Long live Iran.
June 3, 2022