Photo by J. Javid
We'll give Mr. Pahlavi a chance, if...
By Kobra Khanom
January 29, 2001
I believe we should give Reza Pahlavi a chance. For one we have no one
else. Unless you want to side with Maryam Rajavi, our very own female Shiite
Sun Young Moon. I can just see mass weddings at the 100,000-seat Azadi
Second, among the still illiterate half of the nation he may still hold
some symbolic power. If they become desperate enough maybe they'll rise
to his call.
Third, I believe he is sincere and honest. Let's face it. The guy will
never be caught stealing raincoats from department stores. I can vouch
for that. And as for the wealth his father, mother, aunt and others stole,
he could and would be willing to pay it back with community work for the
rest of his life. Editorial here Press conference
But before we can endorse him, Reza Pahlavi has to make some promises.
Endorsing democracy and promising to follow the "will of the people"
is fine; but we will need more assurances so that we will not find ourselves
in some tacky deja-vu of the ancien regime.
He should first and foremost assure us that none of his relatives will
ever hold office or enjoy any special treatment. They should not live in
the palaces. Also Ashraf, Farah and Gholam-Reza, whose hands are dirtied
because of their association with the previous corrupt regime, should remain
Those ministers and courtiers who benefited enormously from their proximity
to Reza's father should remain in exile or return most of their wealth
in exchange for pardons. Houshang Ansari for example should not be allowed
to return because he owns an island anyway.
He should never be addressed as "His Royal Highness" or HRH.
He should be addressed simply as Mr. Pahlavi and anyone who reverts back
to the old HRH should be fired. This is to eliminate the risk of ass-kissing
which has tarnished our history for years.
To avoid the creation of a corrupt court around him, he should be limited
to no more than a dozen people on his staff who have to pass a written
test in order to qualify and who have to be hired by the interior ministry
rather than by the man himself.
He should not have anything whatsoever to do with the military which
should be accountable to the Majlis. Reza Pahlavi should never have a say
in the purchase of military equipment; in case he has inherited his father's
boyish penchant for top-shelf military hardware.
He should renounce his claim to any property "owned" by his
late father. He should live in the palace for as long as he is the figure
head and be paid a salary and entertainment budget approved by the Majlis
His wife Yasmine and their children should never speak in English in
public and should learn proper Farsi. They should attend state schools.
No speeches in English or French should be allowed to be given. Even interviews
with foreign press should be answered in Farsi as a way of denouncing our
Reza Pahlavi , his wife and kids, should never pose for family portraits
in same-patterned clothes.
No use of historic monuments for avant-garde performances by little
known European electronic musicians.
No one connected to the royal family should run the radio and television.
Kamran Diba should be barred from the construction business; especially
no statue of himself should be allowed to be put in front of his architectural
creations. In fact we should have a moratorium on statues altogether.
No celebration of the monarchy -- not even a birthday party -- should
be given using state funds. No attempt should be made to rehabilitate the
memory of his late father. General amnesty should be given to most -- including
Mojahedin and leftists and mollas -- not even Khalkhali should be imprisoned
without a proper trial.
Most importantly Reza Pahlavi should make the first item on his agenda
the elimination of middle men from business deals between Iranians and
foreign governments and corporations. Contracts should be awarded through
a rigorous process of competitive elimination. No Iranian should have the
right to champion the cause of any other government or corporation.
A task force of students should be in charge of awarding contracts.
This task force should change every year to prevent corruption. White collar
crime should be identified and given a Farsi name so that our fellow countrymen
realize that it exists.
A nose-job tax should be imposed to pay for the creation of an elected
anti-corruption watchdog group . There should also be an arrogance barometer
installed in Reza Pahlavi's residence and offices just in case his bad
genes act up. Maybe a butler can be hired on a yearly basis whose job it
will be to cut the shah to size everyday.
Once a year, the new improved Pahlavi should set out on a jeep and railroad
tour of the country to keep in touch with the people.
If he can make these promises then we should all support him. Because
frankly we gave the present regime a chance to correct itself and it failed
and most of us would like to see a change in our life time. Plus we owe
it to the students and journalists in jail to make some move, however futile,
Reza Pahlavi has shown us, in all fairness, that he is at least still
interested in the job and willing to make an effort which is more than
many of us are willing to do. So, if this Pahlavi is a good enough sport
to endorse our list of demands then we should heed his cry of unity and
give him the benefit of the doubt, mindful of the ephemeral nature of politically-motivated