Reza Pahlavi offers a sound investment plan for the political future of his country. He warns the Iranian people and the international community against any further squandering of hope on dodgy schemes and bankrupt ideas churned out by the ruling clerical establishment and its cohorts. The Islamic Republic he argues is one of the greatest international shareholders in terrorism and repression. It has poured the valuable resources of the country into creating fear and instability throughout the world. “It is high time now to open a moral and political account for the future of the Iranian people on the basis of universally agreed upon values of democratic governance.” There can be no doubt such an account will in no time yield a huge peace dividend that would tremendously benefit not only Iran, but also the whole global community. The ameliorating effects of a democratic and politically progressive Iran in the heart of the troubled Middle East cannot be exaggerated.
In an interview with Deutsche Welle radio on May 19th, Reza Pahlavi the man who for the past 26 years has been leading a peaceful campaign against the theocratic dictatorship in his country, referred to Mohammad Khatami's presidency as the final mask falling off the face of a system that has been fundamentally at odds with democratic principles since its violent genesis in 1979. Responding to questions put to him by Elaheh Khoshnam, the correspondent of the German radio station, he pointed out how Mohammad Khatami had a choice between failing the people who elected him to office, and turning his back on the repressive ruling mullahs. Mohammad Khatami, opted for the former. Reza Pahlavi calls this a betrayal:
"When the first student movement and protest against the ruling mullahs took place and was violently repressed by the fanatical thugs in the pay of the regime, when students were thrown out of their dormitory windows and murdered, Khatami instead of offering his resignation in protest to such a heinous violation, sided with the regime and thanked the repressive elements for preserving the order. This was nothing but a clear betrayal of the people who elected him."
A great many former supporters of Mohammad Khatami share this view. Thongs of enthusiastic voters who were looking for a way out of the impasse of the Islamic Republic supported Mohammad Khatami's presidency. Some leading exponents of this movement today are imprisoned by the Islamic Republic. Others live either in exile or under virtual house arrest. What went wrong was that instead of honoring his mandate and overseeing a transition to a democratic system, Mr. Khatami chose to serve the interests of the sworn enemies of freedom and human rights.
An increasing number of Iranians today are rationally facing the incontrovertible political reality and banking their hopes and aspirations on a new political system whose constitution can be consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and principles of civilized democracies. Faced with the impermeability of the Islamic Republic to meaningful democratic reform, many leading figures of the Iranian opposition have put their signature on a call for a national referendum to decide the political future of the country.
Reza Pahlavi who has supported this call draws a line of distinction between the call itself as an instrument of pressure against the mullahs, and the actual holding of the referendum. It is obvious that holding a free referendum requires certain conditions that are not feasible under the present repressive atmosphere. On the other hand, advocating a call for a referendum is nothing but a support for the supremacy of democracy and people's power vis à vis the tyrannical rule of a clique that has based its legitimacy on extraterrestrial rights and obscurantist privileges.
Lines of demarcation in Iranian politics are becoming increasingly clear. Iranians as well as the international community can no longer sit on the fence and waste irredeemable time. The choice has never been so clear as it is today: To make deals with the mullahs will render one a shareholder in international terrorism and clerical dictatorship. To support the democratic rights of the Iranian people to decide their political future in a free national referendum will be an investment yielding inestimable interests in human lives and global security.