March 5, 2001
This writing is in response to Elaine Sciolino's article in The New
York Times on February 15, 2001, titled "Journal
in Exile: Man Who Would Be Shah Seeks Job Ruling Iran."
I am sympathetic toward Mr. Reza Pahlavi, as I am toward all unemployed
persons. However, finding a job with no work experience in his forty years
as a prince, as implied in the article, is rather difficult, especially
in today's economic environment.
To his dismay, the specific position he is seeking, as quoted from his
National Press Club talk, "to become a constitutional monarch,"
is totally impossible. After having lost $25 million of his "family
fortune," he says that, "only one-fourth of his fortune is left."
The source of this questionable, though not explained, "fortune"
could most likely be his late father's wealth, accumulated during years
of his pathetic rule in Iran. I am confident that Mr. Pahlavi and his family,
including the next generation, can live comfortably in the style they are
used to with the remaining assets.
It is not my intention to give credence or allude to the legitimacy
of the present oligarchy in Iran. This oligarchy is ruled by the ultra-right
religious conservatives, specifically under the label of Islamic Republic.
However, I can assure Mr. Pahlavi and his dubious supporters that the vast
majority of Iranians living in Iran, especially the younger, educated generation
under 30 years of age, contrary to the statement in the article about having
"nostalgia for the monarchy," believe that the best outcome of
the revolution twenty-plus years ago, was the uprooting of the monarchy
The monarchy was the type of government that had plagued Iran through
its 2,500-year history. Unfortunately, this system was glorified by the
court cronies and historians, either because of subsidies they received,
or out of fear. The replacement of the last autocratic monarchy by a republican
system, literally the best form of government in existence today, was a
blessing for Iran, though, it developed into an unintended consequence
which established a home made Islamic variety of republic. In true political
terminology of "republic," the "Islamic Republic" is
The present dissatisfaction and disappointment among the people living
in Iran, and not necessarily including all the expatriates, should not
be construed to be from the loss of the monarchy. Curiously, it is caused
by the fact that the present theocratic system, controlled effectively
by a certain ultra-right conservative religious group, claiming their "God-given
ordinance", has transformed the so-called republic into a new harsh
autocracy. They have subverted the will of the nation for a true democracy,
and for all practical purposes, eliminated civil liberties. The similarity
between the claims for governing by the "birthright" versus "Divine
ordinance," and the titles assigned to the governors, such as "Shadow
of Allah," pertaining to the Shah, and "Ayattolah" for the
supreme leader of today, are striking.
My suggestion to Mr. Pahlavi and his handful of allies, who are trying
to test the waters for sailing back and sending a trial balloon via satellite
messages to Iran, is to get in touch with reality and get out of the daydreaming
state. The majority of the Iranian people, disillusioned as they are with
the present regime, will never consider another Shah as their liberator.
To console Mr. Pahlavi, I suggest that he look around and find out how
fortunate he is to live lavishly with his Iranian born wife, an American-educated
lawyer, and his children in the United States, regrettably "without
a chauffeur and a private plane." I believe he is far better off as
he is than to continue hoping to fulfill his "birthright."
In conclusion, the following question has inevitably crossed my mind:
Could the latest publicity and promotions by prestigious media and organizations,
such as the New York Times, and the National Press Club, be related to
a possible green light that the new Republican administration might have
given on the subject of Mr. Pahlavi's reinstatement? Let us hope we are
not about to make another blunder in our foreign policy toward Iran, as
we have done in the past.
Pleasant Hill, California