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Iranian opposition leader Reza Pahlavi Calls for Regime Change in Iran

Reza Pahlavi, the son of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, shah of Iran until his overthrow in 1979 by Islamic clerics and student allies, spoke at a Dec. 12 National Press Club luncheon in Washington, DC. The intelligent and articulate Pahlavi, the most recognizable political opposition figure outside Iran, has been living in exile in Egypt, Morocco, California, and now in Maryland .
Pahlavi said he has chosen to enter the national struggle for freedom, human rights and democracy at a time when Iranians are disgusted and disillusioned with reformists who have promised but not delivered progress. He looks for no particular role in the government, he claimed, but has only one mission: to have Iranians decide their own future .
Iran is one of the world’s top oil producers and exporters, yet more than 50 percent of Iranians live in poverty, Pahlavi told attendees. Under the present regime young people are losing hope and turning to prostitution, drugs and even suicide. More than 40 percent of graduating students cannot find jobs. Teachers are driving taxis and military officers are selling cigarettes in order to feed their families. More journalists are imprisoned in Iran, he said, than in any other country .
Pahlavi argued that 23 years of a theocratic regime has taken Iran back to medieval times, and is urging Iranians to use non-violent civil disobedience to bring about change in Iran .
Pahlavi described Iran as being in a state of implosion, and predicted that the regime will soon collapse from within, due to internal or international pressures. Iranians should be looking at alternatives that can bring stability and peace, he said, and called for a national referendum to allow Iranians to choose their future and take control of their destiny .
According to Pahlavi, the Iranian people want “a secular democratic system, where self-determination is guaranteed, where human rights are observed and built into our constitution, and where no Iranian will ever again be persecuted for any reason" .
Iranians do not expect outside assistance, Pahlavi said, just moral support and an international promise not to assist their “enemies and oppressors" .
When asked what would happen if the next government was even worse than the present one, Pahlavi said he had faith in the Iranian people, for they are no less capable of self-determination than others. “Look at members of the Iranian diaspora around the world,” he pointed out. “They are successful members of their communites. Iranians have wisdom and common sense. Let them decide on their future .
.“Iranians, once free, will set the standard for the Middle East,” Pahlavi concluded


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last update: 4/26/2017 9:47