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Iran 'govt weak, divided since Raisi's death' says last Shah's exiled son

Iran 'govt weak, divided since Raisi's death' says last Shah's exiled son
30 maggio 2024 | 15.54
LETTURA: 7 minuti

Iran's hardline government is ''weaker and more divided than ever'' after the death of president Ebrahim Raisi on 19 May in a helicopter crash, an event that ''gave the Iranian people strength", Reza Pahlavi, the exiled eldest son of Iran's last Shah toppled in the 1979 Islamic revolution told Adnkronos in an exclusive interview.

''The path to peace between Israelis and Palestinians passes through Tehran," Pahlavi tells Adnkronos. And he dreams of ''an Iran at peace with our Israeli and Arab neighbors - the future I seek for Iran and the region." The full interview follows below:

''What is your opinion on the response of the Iranian regime to the assassination of a Pasdaran general by attacking Israel?

The Islamic Republic has sought chaos and conflict in order to export its revolution since 1979. Why was a general in Syria in the first place? It is not to promote or protect Iran’s national interests, it is to advance this regime’s radical ideology. In doing so, it has killed scores of innocent civilians from Syria to Iraq to Yemen to Israel. Iranians on the street chant: “Leave Syria alone and think of us!” By ignoring this call to focus on the national interests, the Islamic Republic is forcing the Iranian people and nation into conflict– or at the very least to live in constant fear of one.

In your opinion, is there still a risk of a regional war or has the limited confrontation between Iran and Israel led to a de-escalation?

As long as the Islamic Republic is in power, there is the risk of regional war. The Islamic Republic is provoking the Israelis, the Arabs, and the Americans and it will continue to do so in order to extract concessions. Each of them should know true de-escalation is only possible if and when the Islamic Republic is gone.

In your opinion, should Israel end the military operation in Gaza or continue the attack on Rafah? What should the end game of Israel be at this point?

This is not for me to say. I am not a military analyst. What I can say is that the terrorists of Hamas, like the Islamic Republic, do not have the best interests of everyday Palestinians at heart. They do not seek peace, they seek destruction of Israel. They are the cause of this terrible conflict.

What is Iran's goal with the war against Gaza and the backing of Hezbollah in Lebanon and of the Houthis in the Red Sea?

Again, the Islamic Republic seeks chaos. It has a no war no peace doctrine through which it tries to export terror without paying the price. It is a revisionist power that is looking to overthrow as many governments in the region as possible. It hoped, and still hopes, to use the Houthis to overthrow the Saudi monarchy. It hopes to use Hamas and Hezbollah to eliminate Israel. It seeks nothing short of the destruction of the nation-states of the region in order to establish a Shia caliphate that it can lead.

Many artists have criticized the death sentence against the rapper Toomaj Salehi. What is your opinion on this case?

Since its first days, the regime has sought to silence, censor, and even kill artists. Toomaj’s case is no different. What is unique about Toomaj, however, is that he did not just rap against the Islamic Republic but also against its Western-based lobbyists and the journalists and experts who support the regime abroad and whitewash its crimes. This is critical. I hope he, like all Iranian political prisoners, is freed.

The director of the IAEA has recently visited Iran. Do you think Tehran is working for the nuclear bomb and how far away do you think it is? And how does this achievement shape the alliances in the Middle East?

If the regime attains a nuclear bomb, it will be devastating. It will set off a nuclear arms race and potentially a nuclear conflict. That is why our movement to overthrow and replace the Islamic Republic is so critical. We are in a race against the nuclear clock. It could not be more important that we succeed and that Western powers help us to succeed.

Various sources are complaining about a further crackdown by the so-called 'morality police' on the obligation to wear the veil in public. What do you think of this obligation?

Iranian women should be free to dress as they please, as they were before the revolution when women in miniskirts walked the streets next to women in full hijabs and all-encompassing black chadors. Iranian women are have been treated as second class citizens. This is a violation of their most basic dignity.

In a post-war scenario, do you think the Abraham Accords will rekindle and move forward or do you think Iran will try to stop this evolution?

The Islamic Republic will do whatever it can to stop the advancement of the Abraham Accords. That is why they supported the October 7th terrorist attack. The only way the Abraham Accords can truly proceed and prosper is by morphing into the Cyrus Accords with a free, secular, democratic Iran as a part of it. That is the future I seek for Iran and the region– Iran at peace with our Israeli and Arab neighbours.

In recent months we have seen many rallies for Israel in which many members of the Iranian diaspora were holding the Iranian imperial flag next to the flags with the star of David. On the internet Iranian and Israeli youth exchange thousands of daily messages looking forward to working together and knowing each other. It is indeed a hopeful vision. What is your road map to this vision?

This is the potential of the Cyrus Accords I spoke of. Iranians and Israelis see themselves, rightfully, as the victims of the same aggressor: the Islamic Republic. I would add that Arabs around the region are also the victims of this regime, including the Palestinians. Young Iranians, Israelis, and Arabs working together for a brighter future when they can focus on their studies, their futures, and their lives instead of fearing for their lives can bring about a new epoch in our region. But that is not possible as long as the Islamic Republic is in power. The Islamic Republic must go for our region to have lasting peace and prosperity.

President Raisi's death: We have seen many Iranians celebrate this event even if it will not have immediate consequences for the stability of the regime. Do you think this event gave psychological strength to the opponents? What can happen now?

The regime’s policies will not change significantly with the death of Raisi. He served Khamenei and his interests and so will his replacement. The president is effectively a secretary, nothing more. The regime is going to try to make a big deal out of the so-called “elections” it has called to select a new president.

But, yes, this has given strength to the Iranian people at a time when the regime is weaker and more divided than ever. They celebrated the death of this killer. Now I am calling on my compatriots to boycott this sham election. They deserve truly free and fair elections.

Norway, Spain, Ireland have recognized the Palestinian state unilaterally, without there having been a post-war negotiation and while Israel is still discovering tunnels in Rafah. What political weight can a recognized state have in these conditions, what future?

I believe in a two-state solution. A democratic Palestinian state, at peace with Israel could, along with a democratic Iran, build a completely different future for the people of the region– one of hope and prosperity. But this can't be possible while Hamas, with the support of the Islamic Republic, is still in power. A Palestinian state led by Hamas would be an extension of the Islamic Republic and an ally for the Taliban. Furthermore, I believe a two-state solution will not be possible as long as the Islamic Republic is in power for this regime will always seek to fund, train, arm, and support the most radical Palestinian terrorist actors. Even if Hamas is eliminated, the Islamic Republic will find or start a new terror group to fund. The path to peace between Israelis and Palestinians goes through Tehran.

In recent years, Prime Minister Nethanyahu has expressed words of esteem and closeness to the Iranian opposition, to the Iranian people and its diaspora, imagining a shared Middle East where the two countries can prosper and live in peace. What do you think of the arrest warrant issued by Judge Khan against the Israeli Prime Minister?

I expected an arrest warrant to be issued for Khamenei. Instead we saw condolences messages by the UN and democratic countries like the United States for Ebrahim Raisi, the butcher of Tehran. This is shameful.

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