Exiled Iranian royal sees chance to end the Islamic Republic

Source: Associated Press

By BRADLEY KLAPPER

WASHINGTON (AP) — Reza Pahlavi concentrates intently on the little cellphone in his hand, scrolling through clips of chanting Iranians and explaining why the protests unsettling his homeland are different this time. Even as the latest reports suggest the unrest may be ebbing, the scion of Persia’s 2,500-year-old monarchy believes Iran’s people are writing a new future for themselves, and perhaps for their exiled son.

“We all know that regime change is the ultimate formula,” said Pahlavi, the son of the last shah before the 1979 Islamic Revolution and a harsh critic of the clerical rulers that have dominated Iran ever since. “But that’s what the Iranian people are asking. It’s not going to be because the U.S. says so, or the British say so, or the Saudis say so, or the Israelis say so. It’s because it’s what the Iranian people want.”

More than want, he believes they may succeed.

For Pahlavi, who advocates replacing Tehran’s theocracy with a pluralist, parliamentary democracy, the demonstrations that have rocked cities across Iran the last two weeks aren’t about egg prices, unemployment or economic opportunity. They’re about the nation’s greater grievance with its entire political system.

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