Thursday 27 September 2007

An Iranian Solution for a World Problem

Reza Bayegan

Last week Prince Reza Pahlavi of Iran who lives in exile from his homeland once again outlined his views on defusing the unprecedented danger threatening his country and world peace. He has expressed these views before but as the menace of confrontation with the Iranian regime looms increasingly heavier, the relevance and urgency of Reza Pahlavi's appeal is becoming more apparent.

In an article published in Le Monde dated 21 September 2007 he points to a third way of encountering the regime in Tehran which is neither violent military attack nor appeasement.

According to Reza Pahlavi what can save Iran and the world from disaster is a synergy between the democratic struggle from inside the country on the one hand and the will of international community on the other. The regime needs to be crippled from within and isolated from without. Economic sanctions together with political pressure should be the focus of the international efforts and not preparation for a military attack.

The priority of Iranians who are submitted to relentless oppression and persecution of a brutal dictatorship is not how to respond to the nuclear challenge or to fight the adventurous foreign policy of the Islamic Republic. Issues of vital importance to Iranian people right now are daily violations of human rights, growing poverty and unemployment and the absence of liberty. He writes:

"I share this conviction with many of the dissidents inside the country, that the essential problem of the Iranian people is neither the continuation of the uranium enrichment nor the Islamic regime's adventurism in one way or the other. The main aspirations of the large majority of the Iranians are freedom, human rights, secularism, prosperity, employment and security."

What is pointed out in this article is a need for a shifting of the emphasis by the West in its confrontation with the dictatorial regime in Iran. So long as major Western powers demonise Iran for what the regime portrays as an issue of great national pride, the will for popular uprising and overthrowing the dictatorship is foiled and nullified.

Major powers need to remind the Iranian people that far from grudging them advancement and technological progress, they are engaged in the same battle as they are in helping to rid their country of a medieval dictatorship and restore their human rights and liberty. To talk of the war between Iran versus the rest of the world is to exactly play into the hand of the Mullahs.

Reza Pahlavi praises the new French government for its resolve to impose greater sanctions on the Islamic regime and blacklist members of the Iranian political establishment. The French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been very careful to make a distinction between the terrorist-sponsoring government in Tehran and what he calls the 'great Iranian nation'. Mr Sarkozy also thinks that between bombing Iran and allowing the Islamic Republic to develop weapons of mass destruction there exists a third option.

Reza Pahlavi offers an Iranian point of view about the modality of this third option. The great advantage of his solution is that instead of alienating Iranians and pushing them into the claws of their oppressors, it pays homage to their just political aspirations and enlists their commitment to fight for their national liberation with dignity and pride.

No political figure amongst the opposition has the legitimacy or popularity of Reza Pahlavi to unite the Iranian people in their fight against their tyrannical rulers. In this article for the prestigious French newspaper, he reiterates his commitment to carry the flame of freedom and democracy to the end and see off his nation to a destination where they can freely choose their future political path, be it a democratic republic or a constitutional monarchy.

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