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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


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 and oil-related.

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 the constitution.

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 that.

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.

Cyrus Kadivar


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