January 26, 2001
Monarchy not archaic
Read your editorial with mixed feelings and hope it will generate a
decent debate ["Citizen
Pahlavi"]. But you made one error. Dr Mossadeq stood for a constitutional
monarchy - being a Qajar aristocrate and a conservative politician he never
sought to declare a republic. His fallout with the Shah was purely personal
Ironically, he used dictatorial methods when he didn't get his way or
call it resorted to emergency powers to quell royalist forces angered by
his anti-constitutional measures. That Dr Mossadeq became a nationalist
champion is not questioned. But it has to be said that in the numerous
letters he wrote to 'His Majesty the Shah' while serving internal exile
on his vast estate at Ahmadabad, Mossadeq never questioned the institution
of monarchy but the violations he perceived the Shah had committed against
As for the monarchy as a form of system I for one do not see it as
archaic writing from London where the country this summer will be celebrating
the Queen's Jubilee. In Spain the restoration of Juan Carlos was not seen
as backward after the dictatorship of Franco and in Bahrain and Afghanistan
talk of a return to monarchy is on quite a few lips.
In Iran Ferdowsi restored Persian pride by glorifying past kings. Today's
Iran could do with a national symbol represented by a constitutional monarch
and a modern leader who can defend the values of a future democracy.
Reza Pahlavi has shown guts to stand up at the risk of being taken seriously
or being ridiculed by the apathetic exiled Iranian community in the U.S.
It takes moral fibre to stand at the age of 21 and declare himself the
head of the Pahlavi family when all was taken away and greater personal
courage at 40 to defend and align himself to the democratic movement taking
place in his country.
As for constitutional monarchy being an option it is still a possibility
that some Iranians may see it as a bridge between the chasm that exists
in our psyche and maybe prove to be the compromise that delivers us from
tyranny and restores our pride in our culture and heritage. Time will decide
In the meantime I declare myself moved by the late Shah's son initiative
which will invite personal danger to his person but also glad to see that
somebody hasn't forgotten his duty to his conscience and compatriots.