This chap aint
By Ali Ezzatyar
As a logical being, I prefer not even calling him Reza Pahlavi. I am forced to; I don’t know what else to call him. His grandfather Reza Khan arbitrarily bestowed upon himself the name Pahlavi, as well as the title Shah less than a century ago. As an extension of this reality, any rational person would assume that by maintaining this capricious title, he wishes to carry on the legacy of his father and grandfather.
His grandfather has been called a maniac. His father is the man who the CIA brought in (after he fled Iran) to replace Mohammad Mossadegh, our first true democratically elected leader. His father was also the man whose decades of shame and tyranny brought about our revolution. Now, Reza Pahlavi is not his father or grandfather, and no one should assume he is awful as a result of his family tree. But assumption is not necessary in the case of Reza; his agenda is quite clear.
Reza, matter of factly dubbed the Crown Prince by Fox News, was on Hannity and Colmes interviewing last week about the current unrest in Iran. Simply put, his testimony was riddled with inconsistency and betrayal. In case some of you missed it, let me underline a few interesting segments: (Listen to the June 17 interview on Reza Pahlavi's site)
Mr. Colmes began by asking Mr. Pahlavi about whether or not he had given up the idea of monarchy, because as Mr. Colmes pointed out, a monarchy is not a democracy. Mr. Pahlavi appeared nervous, stating that he believes a monarchy can be democratic per the example of Europe. He then quickly changed the subject. Hmm…
The conservative Mr. Hannity decided it was time for his two cents. He said that he hopes the U.S. has CIA on the ground in Iran, and that they are fomenting unrest in Iran and meddling in Iran’s affairs. I was shocked. How could Mr. Hannity make such a blunder? How could he be so naive to the reality of what happened in 1953, and the effect it had on Iran.
How could he not know that it is widely believed in academic circles that this was the first precursor to the 1979 revolution? No one bothered to tell him that this was the root of anti-Americanism in Iran? The CIA’s first successful regime change took place in Iran, and its victim was an Iranian hero. Get him for that Crowned Prince of Iran!
Reza responded by laughing and nodding. He didn’t take that opportunity to express the Iranian people’s sentiment with regard to our ongoing subjection to the will of others.
No one asked him to spit in Sean Hannity’s face (which arguably would have been in order), but merely educate the man in front of millions of uninformed Americans. Instead, he approved of these cynical plans. What, does he miss his dad too much? Is he mad at what Mossadegh did to daddy?
I am being sarcastic, but behind it is pure anger. I am angry that Iranians are so naïve as to recognize this chap as their champion. In fact, I am surprised that this man is not despised by all Iranians with this sort of behavior. There must be two reasons for this travesty.
1) You are simply incompetent and unversed in your nation’s history. You saw pictures of Tehran before the revolution and liked what you saw, so you assume Reza Pahlavi is the man for the job (I once had a friend tell me “Tehran looked like Vegas”, with pure excitement). My response to you is that you would do well to pick up a book, because future change in Iran will not be lead by incompetent men and women. Educate yourself.
2) You are driven by ulterior motives. Maybe you were patronized by the Shah and you can neither return to Iran, nor bask in your riches of old. In addition, you would love to see these Mullahs fall as revenge for your failure (cough, cough, satellite channels). In other words, you do not want the best for the Iranian people; you want the best for the Iranian people provided that your fantasies are realized. In this case, you are not only my enemy, but an enemy of the Iranian people and Iran. As a friend of mine from Tehran said this week, “Nafasishoon az jaayeh garm meeyaad”.
Reza went on to say that Iran should be accountable to the U.S. due to its nuclear program. His father began with a nuclear program in the 1970’s; he forgot to mention that on Fox News. “Mr. Pahlavi” also parted with a warm, friendly handshake for Sean Hannity, a man who has been quoted as saying Iran should attacked militarily.
A tad more conversation took place which would have any true Iran-loving individual fuming that I can’t mention in the space allotted. He claims Iran should have a referendum. News to him, Iran did have a referendum after the revolution, but the system the Iranian people chose left little room for change. Some approve of this arbitrariness.
How, though, will a referendum ushering in another monarchy be any different with regard to despotism? It will be no different, except as Reza hopes, he will have replaced the clergy as Iran’s dominant force. He rejects arbitrary rule, yet in the same breath approves of it. To top it all off, he has no relevant credentials or unique vision for Iran’s future.
Reza, your chances are slim to none, but who knows what an expatriate community in the U.S. could do to bolster your chances. After all, it was an equally non-authentic force that ousted our beloved Mossadegh.
Ali Ezzatyar is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, New York.