February 1, 2001
Misunderstanding the facts
This is the first time I am writing to your publication. I am very fond
of articles appearing on your site, particularly of those personalities'
whose expertise on Iran, political issues and international relations are
well know to most Iranians and nonIranians.
However, tonight I read an interesting article, "Citizen
Pahlavi", which, if I may would like to comment on few points
I have copied those lines and have replied to them one at a time.
1 "What Mohammad Mossadegh stood for is far more appealing
to the public than the monarchy."
Can the writer explain his/her understanding of what Dr. Mossaddegh
stood for? Because those Iranians who have read the history or even remember
those days would never call Dr. Mossadegh a republican!
All Dr. Mossaddegh was insisting was respecting the constitution which
stated the system of constitutional monarchy. Let's not forget that he
himself was related to the Qajar royal family. Thus what you have understood
or been told about him, I have no idea!
To give you an example of Mossaddegh's respect for monarchy, please
refer to his own writings where he states, " Though I was not feeling
well and I was told that on my audience with His Majesty I can drive up
to the palace, I replied: 'No matter what I shall walk from the gate to
2 "But why even call for a referendum when you already know
the clear majority just want a secular democracy? Why even suggest the
monarchy as a possible future form of government when most people have
no desire for it?"
I believe the writer has misunderstood the fact that a secular democracy
is not a type of government! One can see today many examples of progressive,
secular and democratic republics as well as monarchies. Germany, France
or Sweden and Spain. I thought the writer is pro-democracy. In a democracy
you don't decide for others and you don't take the options away either.
Instead you leave all options open and let the nation to choose.
Again a secular democracy is the wish I believe of many of our countrymen,
but a secular democracy does not specify the form of the political establishment.
I don't think anyone is in any position to say that most people have no
desire for monarchy. Has the writer spoken or taken a survey of over 35
million Iranians who are eligible to vote?
4 - "The monarchy and velayat-e faqih have one very important thing
in common. And that is the notion that one man, or one family, or one social
class, has the God-given right to rule over a nation. Even under the best
circumstances when the monarch or the vali-e faqih does not interfere in
the government's affairs, the concept of a royal or holy figure head goes
against the principles of modern politics. It does not matter if you are
the Queen of England or a modern, free-thinking molla -- neither should
have special titles or exclusive privileges beyond ordinary citizens."
We are talking of constitutional monarchy where no one is above the
law, be it the Shah or a peasant. Therefore, the constitutional monarchs
such as; the Queen of England (as you've mentioned) or that of Denmark
or Holland do not rule over their nations. You talk of modern politics
and claim that monarchy is outdated.
Would you then consider countries such as; Sweden, Britain, Norway,
Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand
or Japan, the backward nations on earth? These are some of the finest examples
5 - "We had monarchies because we had no other choice. Now we do.
The people of Iran are more than familiar with the concept of secular democracy
and you are going to have a hell of a time convincing them to aim for anything
"We had no choice"?! - Why is that? Wasn't the revolution
of 1979 a good opportunity to establish your desire a secular democracy?
Again this "Secular Democracy"! I suppose you mean a democratic
6 - "As long as he represents an outdated and undesirable form
of government that never had a popular base to begin with, he will be,
for the most part, ignored."
Like many other issues mentioned on your article, this too is debatable.
"Never had a popular base"?!
I would be very grateful if you could possibly redirect my reply to
my dear countryman. I would also like to take this opportunity and thank
you for all efforts on Iranian.com for enabling us to communicate with
other Iranians and therefore, promote this forum of free discussions.