The situation in Iran is serious. Few in the opposition have any confidence in the recent presidential election results. There is widespead unrest in the country, and concern internationally. It is over thirty years since the fall of the Shah of Iran, probably President Carter’s and perhaps the United States’ greatest foreign policy failure, a point made in this column on 24 January ( “Iran should be high on the agenda.”)
This was exacerbated by the disgraceful way the President, out of deference to the revolutionary and theocratic regime in Tehran, was even inclined to prevent the dying Shah from obtaining medical treatment in the United States.
Sound presidential policy requires wisdom and good intelligence. President Carter was badly served by the CIA’s failure to understand what was going on in Iran. I suspect this was assisted by a superficial preference for regimes which call themselves republics.
All this was exacerbated by the President's naïveté. As Alan Gold put it, "against the strongest advice from the US State Department, (he) went out of his way to meet some of the world's most egregious dictators and leaders of terrorist organisations, believing his qualities of openness, Christian faith and belief in human rights would encourage them to change their ways. " (Desperate Diplomacy, Review, The Weekend Australian, 21-22 February, 2009.)
( Alan Gold was reviewing Jimmy Carter's 2009 book, 'We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan that Will Work,' which, he says, "…seems an attempt to atone for his previous, 'Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,' which, when published, prompted the resignation of 14 top-level advisers from his Carter Centre. That title alone shows him to be unsuitable as a mediator for Obama, a role for which he patently yearns. Released on the day of Obama's inauguration, his book seems to be little more than a job application.")
If you go to the website of the late Shah of Iran’s son and heir, Reza Pahlavi, you can watch several interviews including ones with Sir David Frost. In these, Reza Pahlavi comes across as a modern democrat, who wishes to unite monarchists and republicans in bringing democracy to Iran, and in liberating her women and her minorities. The impression is of a great communicator who is sophisticated and caring – the ideal person to be at the head of his country.
Born on 31 October 1960, he is the elder son of the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Shahbanu (the Empress) Farah Diba Pahlavi. His supporters refer to him as ‘His Imperial Majesty Reza Shah Pahlavi II.’ In one BBC interview he says this title is not an issue-what is an issue is the governance of Iran.
To the West of course and to the nations of the Middle East, what is also in issue is the nuclear policy and the foreign policy of the President who claims to have been re-elected.
….Reza Pahlavi statement on the current situation ( 13 June):-
Today the world is witnessing the demonstrated anger of millions of Iranians against a regime that denies their most basic rights, including the right to choose leaders who could improve their abysmal condition.
There is no exit from this condition, so long as one man appropriates onto himself the “power of god” and controls the judiciary, the media, the security forces and, through direct and indirect appointees dictates the only candidates claiming to represent an impoverished and disenfranchised people.
Today I stand united with my fellow Iranians and call for the end of the Islamic Republic, or any other prefix in front of the name of my beloved Iran that indicates theocracy or any other form of disregard for democratic and human rights.
I caution the world that offering any incentives or “carrots” to the theocracy under these circumstances is an affront to the people of Iran. This is not a time for short-sighted, self-defeating tactical games. This is the time for the free world to stand true to its principals and support the people of Iran’s quest for democracy and human rights.