Iran’s Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi: Civil Disobedience for a Free Iran

BEVERLY HILLS — In an interview with Breitbart News on Monday, Iran’s exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi called for greater American and international support for Iran’s freedom-craving people.

The crown prince is the son of Iran’s last king, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. He is the president of the National Council for Free Elections in Iran.

“We realize that the current regime is not going to voluntarily leave the scene, which is why we have put together a campaign of resistance and civil disobedience,” Pahlavi told Breitbart News. “And that’s why we’ve been in contact with a variety of secularists within Iran representing all sorts of views from workers to teachers to labor unions” to other organizations.

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Adelle Nazarian of Breitbart News interviews Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi. (Photo: Adelle Nazarian for Breitbart News)

Over half of Iran’s population is under the age of 40. The crown prince noted that the advent of social media and technology is a priceless tool in the quest for freedom. “And fortunately in this world of social media and Internet communication most of the give and take happens by means that were not available 20 years ago,” he said.

Pahlavi recently penned a letter to President Donald Trump congratulating him on his victory. Asked how he views Trump and his administration with regard to U.S.-Iran relations, he said, “I think the current president has indicated that he wants to be much more in support of strengthening the people’s hand and, at the same time, weakening the regime. And I think that’s exactly what we were hoping to hear.”

He said this rhetoric and support “should not be limited to the U.S,” adding that he’s “always advocated that the empowerment of any people is always the best solution at the end, especially when they have to fight very oppressive regimes. So, engaging with the people, helping civil society in these countries, is the quickest path to maximizing the success of such nations to overcome whatever struggle they are facing.”

Iran’s former  recently died. The businessman had a checkered political past and was considered the father of Iran’s nuclear program. While some within the regime described his as a “man of peace,” he was better remembered by many of the Iranian people as an oppressor and for having orchestrated several international terrorist atrocities.

The crown prince also commented on the recent death of Iran’s former president, Hashami Rafsanjani, who was described in the media as a “man of peace” but who was the father of Iran’s nuclear program, as well as an oppressive ruler. Pahlavi compared Rafsanjani’s death to the passing of Cuba’s late dictator Fidel Castro: “It’s not the same anymore, no matter how many more junior cadres remain. And in that sense, more of a void will be created.” He noted the importance of making sure that “the void is filled with the proper alternative. That’s something everyone should be concerned with.”

Earlier Monday evening, Pahlavi addressed a private audience and urged “civil disobedience by means of non-violence.”

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Reza Pahlavi (middle) receiving key to the city from current Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch (right) and former mayor Lili Bosse (left). (Photo: Adelle Nazarian for Breitbart News)

Although he did not mention President Barack Obama by name, the crown prince said, “When you fight extremely brutal regimes, such movements cannot succeed without having tacit support from other freedom-loving countries and governments.” His words evoked memories of the failure of the Obama administration to provide much-needed support to the ailing Iranian people during the 2009 Green Revolution and the stolen election that fueled it.

With Rafsanjani’s death, however, the crown prince noted that “the regime is pretty much beginning to show indications of fragmentation, going eventually towards their collapse.” He noted “the importance of making sure that the path to the alternative is as smooth as possible and that complete measures are taken to make sure that a dictatorship will not be replaced by another one. And that, indeed, it is the people who will triumph and nobody else.”

Asked if the crown prince would consider taking on an elected or lineal leadership role in his country of birth, and the land where his father reigned as its last king, Pahlavi said:

I’ve always said this is not about me. It’s about the Iranian people and their opportunity to finally get self-determination and freedom. That’s my only objective at this point. And the day that we have free elections will be the day I will consider my political mission in life accomplished. From that day on, I cannot tell you now what the circumstances will be. I’ve always said that I’m ready to serve my country, in whatever capacity that my constituents choose.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz

(This article was originally written published on Breitbart News)

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‘Acela’ration: Donald Trump Declares Himself Presumptive Republican Nominee

Donald Trump at Trump Tower
Donald Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, NY

NEW YORK, NY — Donald Trump announced that he is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee from his own Trump Tower in Manhattan, on Tuesday night following a clean sweep of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in what has been dubbed the “Acela Primary”.

“I consider myself the presumptive nominee,” Trump said to the crowd of reporters and supporters who had gathered. “As far I’m concerned, it’s over. These two guys don’t have a path,” he said of his fellow Republican presidential contenders Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Tuesday’s primary was dubbed “Acela” because the five states that held primaries on that day coincide with the route of Amtrak’s speediest carrier.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) were among those present in the crowd.

In addition to thanking his constituents in the states he won, Trump jestfully extended his gratitude to the media for covering him “very fairly… for the past two hours.”

Trump’s wins in the Northeast were indicative of his ability to pander to a diverse constituency; a point he made no secret of during his victory speech.

“Every state is so different,” Trump said, noting that “this is one diverse victory.”

After he addressed Cruz and Kasich, Trump took direct aim at the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, while foreshadowing a more in-depth strategy for his foreign policy platform. Both during a press release and in his remarks on Tuesday evening, Trump said he will address national security and other pressing issues during a noontime Wednesday press conference at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

“I will do far more for women than Hillary Clinton will ever do, including protecting our country” Trump said. “The only card she has is the woman’s card,” he added. “And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote.” Clinton has benefited from support from females over her Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who has far greater backing from millennials in addition to being the more popular candidate.

A McClatchy-Marist poll released earlier this month indicates that 25% of Sanders supporters say they would not vote for Clinton if she were to become the Democratic nominee.

In order for Trump to cinch the Republican Party’s nomination outright, he must achieve 1,237 delegates. After tonight’s primary, he is clocked in at 1,055 leaving him just 182 delegates away from achieving that goal.

Trump also addressed the issue of immigration in his speech. “And, by the way, I want people to come into our country. But I want them to come in legally. They have to come in through a process.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz

Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, Twin Sister of Iran’s Last Shah, Dies

Princess Ashraf PahlaviPrincess Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of Iran’s late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Europe on Thursday. She was 96.

The announcement of her passing was posted to the Facebook page of the Shah’s son Reza Pahlavi. In his post, Reza described his aunt as having a heart full of love for Iran and being devoted to improving the social life of its citizens and specifically the advancement of women’s rights and the fight against illiteracy.

هفدهم دی ماه ۱۳۹۴از درگذشت عمه عزیزم، شاهدخت اشرف پهلوی، بسیار متاثر و متالم شدم. خاطرات بسیاری از دوران کودکی تا به ا…

Posted by The Official Site of Reza Pahlavi on Thursday, 7 January 2016

Ashraf’s book Faces in a Mirror was her personal account of how the 1979 revolution destroyed the lives of her fellow countrymen and women following its takeover by the radical theocratic regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. She wrote the book in exile.

In addition to being a champion for women’s rights, Ashraf was credited with establishing Iran’s relationship with China and for serving as the head of the Iranian delegation to the United Nations for more than a decade.

Robert F. Armao, who has served as a senior advisor to the princess for almost 40 years, described her to the New York Times as “a very strong personality and a very strong feminist.” Armao is in the process of writing a book about the royal Pahlavi family.

To her supporters, the princess will be celebrated as a champion of women’s rights and an accomplished diplomat. However, her critics will continue to, by some accounts falsely, press her image as a power monger who played a pivotal role in the 1953 “military coup” that overthrew Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh over fears he was veering in favor of the Soviet Union and for nationalizing the nation’s oil.

The historical accuracy of the 1953 ousting of Mosaddegh having been a coup is questionable considering the Persian constitution stated that the Shah had the power to appoint and dismiss ministers. Oxford defines “coup” as “a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.”

“Ashraf became the focal point, especially by many people on the left, of everything that was wrong and was made out to be some sort of maniacal witch,” Dr. Behzad Tabatabaei told Breitbart News. Dr. Tabatabaei, who is an Iran expert and an international business and political economist, explained that this was a far cry from the truth. “I’m not saying she was a saint by any measure. But she certainly was not the monster that people on the left or the religious zealotry have tried to portray her as. She was the sister of the Shah and had a lot of influence as a consequence of being part of the royal family.”

Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University Hamid Dabashi published a piece in Al Jazeera upon hearing of Ashraf’s passing in which he provides his personal perspective on where the ultimate fate of Ashraf’s image will rest.

As a princess, that is where Ashraf Pahlavi is headed: towards the pantheon of a nation’s collective memory, right next to Rudabeh, Farangis, Tahmineh, Gordafarid, or perhaps most appropriately Sudabeh. None of those characters are flat or banal – all are bold and multidimensional.

In Princess Ashraf’s death there is also a moral lesson for the ruling clergy in Iran or for the ruling dynasties anywhere else in the world.

No royal or presidential historian, no official obituary or hostile detractor will ever match the gentle creativity of a nation’s soul that plays with the soft clay of their rulers’ memory to fit them right where they belong – where they can humbly give back to their nation the best they had in them and then take back to their maker the worst of which they were capable.

Ashraf was born on October 26, 1919 to the late monarch Reza Shah. She is survived by her son, Prince Chahram Pahlavi, five grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. Her daughter Azadeh Shafiq Pahlavi passed away in 2011. Ashraf’s other son, Shahriar Shafiq Pahlavi, was assassinated on a Paris street in 1979 by agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Shahriar’s death haunted her until the final days of her life.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

[NOTE: This post was originally written for Breitbart News and has been reposted on Adelle’s personal blog.]