Thursday, June 08, 2006

Reza Pahlavi Sees Iran Foot-Dragging

Elaine Ganley, The Washington Post:
The son of the toppled shah of Iran said Wednesday that the Western proposal to end a standoff with Tehran over its nuclear program will only lead to further foot-dragging. Reza Pahlavi called on the world to support Iran's opposition groups, which he claimed have put differences aside and united in a bid to install a democratic government and rid Iran of the clerical regime.

"Why waste time ... in endless negotiations?" Pahlavi said at a news conference after meeting with a group of French parliamentarians.

The fact that the U.S. added its name to the proposal, which includes an incentive package, "puts the regime in an impossible position" — a "lose-lose situation," Pahlavi said.

If it accepts the proposal, Iran would have to backtrack on its propaganda, which he called the "glue" holding the regime together. Should it reject the offer, Tehran would face an "economic shock" from potential U.N. sanctions, he said. READ MORE

"I'm concerned that the status quo will prevail," he said.

Iran "will need to take a stand with the world watching. The only question is how long it could drag out the game of confusion and suspend the moment of truth," said Pahlavi.

He appealed to countries to help opposition groups in exile who, he said, include Iranian rightists, leftists, monarchists and republicans.

The current clerical regime thrives on crises, and "the only thing Mr. Khamenei is afraid of is the people on the streets of Iran," Pahlavi said, referring to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The opposition represents "the most logical, least costly and most direct" means for peaceful regime change, he said.

Pahlavi was 20 when Shah Mohamed Reza Pahlavi fled his country as the Iranian revolution took hold in 1979 and installed a clerical regime. The shah ultimately died in exile.