During the past few months Reza Pahlavi has become more vocal about his intentions and the role he is considering for himself to play in post-Mullah Iran.
He has also conducted some clever maneuvers which not only have improved his credibility amongst the ordinary Iranians but also it has made him more popular and hence has forced the rest of world media to take him more seriously.
This has revoked the traditional opponents of monarchy to come out in full force and attack RP or anyone who could not help but to see some sense and order in the strategic patterns of his political maneuvers.
To these people, a person who is even willing to listen to what RP has to say or attempts to engage in a constructive and positive debate with the supporters of monarchy, is a closet monarchist.
Well! This term “closet monarchists”. I am not sure who invented it but at the moment there could not be a label more irrelevant and unsuitable with regards to the supporters of Monarchy.
If anything, in my experience, the supporters of monarchy are the most upfront, straight forward and transparent group opposing the IRI. Not to mention they are also the most confident bloggers on this and other sites.
To some of us this might seem a bit strange and even bizarre why these people are so confident and up front with their choice of leadership and future system of government for Iran. After a close observation and analysis of their rationale I could round the reason behind this confidence into two major factors.
But before getting into these factors I need to make one thing absolutely clear. As these are only my observations and do not necessarily reflect my own views on the suitable type of government for Iran (which I will try to explain by the end of this article).
In my observation the two major reasons behind the confidence of our monarchist countrymen can are as following:
Firstly RP is a squeaky clean, brand new, fresh, out-of-the-box, leader. He has no shadowy past to have to answer for and no political legacy to drag him down. Unlike other groups and former leaders who have once collaborated with the IRI and especially Khomeini. Some might even have the blood of many Iranians on their hands. But unlike them RP does not have such excess baggage and that makes his job and the job of his supporters that much easier.
Now! Some of you might argue that the legacy of his father and grandfather is the biggest excess baggage that one could wish for. Hence this should make RP’s job much more difficult than anyone might think. However I do not necessarily agree with that.
You see, depending on the angle which you look at, the reign of the previous two Pahlavi kings could be assessed both as an asset and as a liability, which brings me to my second point.
The second reason for these people’s confidence is the fact that the monarchists refer to the reign of previous Pahlavi kings as a period of progress that brought the country out of the dark ages. A period when the country’s infrastructure was built from ground up. When the Iranian nation was dragged from being a backward, superstitious illiterate, nation of nomads and mostly rural communities (just like today’s Afghanistan), into the 20th century. By 1979 we had railroads, many universities, hospitals, modern schools, hydro electrical dams, a modern road network, many airports and drove cars instead of riding donkeys. Overall there was a complete infrastructure. And so on and so forth.
One major issue that helps the case of this group immensely is the nostalgia factor of their previous generations (mothers and fathers) who still brag about the good old times of the Shah when their money went further, life was easier and society was safer to live. And many other advantages associated with that era.
Now! You and I could spend forever arguing against that nostalgic longing but I can assure you (as I have already tried and failed) that it not only won‘t have any effect but it might even backfire: we might end up being blamed for the current mess and be accused of trying to skip our responsibility for this disaster.
Unfortunately in spite of all the above factors, our republican comrades have yet failed in adapting a viable strategy to promote their argument in an effective and appealing manner and hence have left the road wide open for RP and his supporters to progress their case with head-spinning speed.
All the opponents of monarchy have done so far is resorting to negative campaigns of cheap insults and unfounded allegations, which is the trademark of IRI supporters. This has had a total opposite effect by making the supporters of RP even more determined and furthermore winning more sympathy for them from other undecided groups.
The people of the old revolutionary school have pulled out the corpse of Mosaddegh and other lefty opponents and instead of engaging in a constructive debate with RP and supporters of monarchy, they just engage in a cycle of mumbling and grumbling about the past. They do not like RP’s father and since he is the son of that father, they are not interested.
The first major flaw in this argument is that these people are not willing to have a unbiased look at the history and examine the evidence before issuing a verdict. They conveniently highlight all the mistakes made by Shah while failing to mention any of errors by the other parties. That is what makes their argument invalid and unappealing to the younger generation who had no stake in the reasons for 1979 revolution and have no axe to grind with regards to Dr Mosaddegh’s argument with the late Shah.
Even with regard to the 1979 disaster, these people are trying to have it both ways by on the one hand presenting that event as a necessary, great struggle of the people for freedom, with them at the helm and claiming that it was their hard work and vision that made that glorious event a reality. But when it comes to the disastrous outcome of that very same misadventure, they tend to wash their hand completely of all responsibility and either blame the previous regime or blame Khomeini for being a deceitful person. It is exactly this type of hypocritical double standard that is corroding the credibility of these guys.
Well guys! If you were not responsible for the disaster of 1979, and if it happened in spite of your efforts, then make it clear to all of us: are you willing to condemn the 1979 disaster as a mistake and an error of judgment in the part of anybody who participated in that collective national suicide or not?
On the other hand if you were responsible for supporting Khomeini and making it all happen, are you willing to apologize for your gross error of judgment?
Furthermore as long as we are talking about sitting on the fence, are you guys willing to get down from the fence of either approving or condemning the 1979 disaster and declare your position on that mistake one way or another?
Like it or not, your current strategy will not wash with the new generation. They put the blame squarely on the so called “intellectuals”, for following and supporting Khomeini without knowing who he was, what he stood for, or even what he was saying.
To be frank, these groups (such as MKO, communists, Jebhe-ye Melli and many others) are themselves well aware of such a fact and that is why they have not yet dared to come clean and openly announce their selection of leader and inviting others to follow him/her.
This is because they know very well that whoever they present as a leader needs to be transparent and upfront with the new generation of Iranians and explain their actions of 1979. It is no good to just circle ones hands, telling that it had noting to do with us and it was all Shah’s or Khomeini’s fault. No one is interested in following some powerless nobody who could not even be responsible for what happened under his watch in the battle he is taking pride in.
But having said that, it is my personal belief that our revolutionary friends have finally recognized the fatal error that they made with regards to dealing with Khomeini in 1979 and although they do not want to admit it, they are desperately trying to avoid making the same mistake with regards to Reza Pahlavi.
But given the extremist nature of our mindset this time round these people are resorting to the other extreme end of the spectrum without even realising it. That is why they are attempting to dismiss RP point blank as irrelevant, or are desperately trying to ignore him.
You see? The last time round they all rallied around Khomeini declaring him as “The Leader”, not allowing anyone to challenge him or question his goals and motives for Iran. This was because Khomeini had the weapon of religion at his disposal and that could mobilise the ordinary people behind him. Their error was allowing Khomeini to go on unchallenged until the Shah was deposed, thinking that they could marginalize and get rid of him once the main adversary (Shah’s regime) was out of the equation.
But Khomeini was more devious than all of them put together. He turned the table on them by using them to gain power and then getting rid of them when no longer needed. This is why this time round our friends are so hesitant about uniting with RP: they fear that he may try the same trick on them. So they resort to blind dismissal and no engagement.
What this group do not realise however is the fact that one can not make up for one extreme by resorting to the opposite extreme. Furthermore time has changed dramatically since 33 years ago and strategically RP does not need them as much as Khomeini once did.
All those years ago Khomeini might have needed Dr Ibrahim Yazdi to introduce him to the world media by arranging his first international press interview in Paris. He definitely needed an organizations like MKO to publish his messages on leaflets and endorse it by putting their logo on the top of it and then circulate them in universities, offices and homes all around the country. He might have needed people like Sadegh Ghotbzadeh and Mehdi Bazargan to appeal to secular moderate section of Iranian society. But today RP does not need any of those types.
The international media already know him and by making smart strategic moves such as applying to refer Khamenei to the International Human Rights Tribunal, he is making himself known to the world and becoming more popular amongst the young Iranians inside the country.
Also given the advances in the technology and tools like the internet and satellite TV. RP has no difficulty getting his message to the people inside Iran and appealing to the ordinary man and woman in the streets of our towns and cities. People's main concern is the economy, inflation, unemployment, low wages, and insecurity -- not what happened between Mosaddegh and Shah over 50 years ago or the utopian society that communism or Islamist leftist ideology can promise.
What they want most of all is improvement of their livelihood and punishments for those who have made their lives so miserable over the past 33 years. By making all the right moves with regards to the current situation in Iran and banking on the nostalgia of the previous generation, RP’s campaign is gathering momentum rapidly.
Also the fact is that the stage has been left vacant by all other opposition leaders and we have no face for another potential leader to challenge RP or negotiate with him. This has made the situation even easier and more desirable for monarchists.
Now if I was a sort of monarchist who wanted the return of monarchy at whatever price, I would not have even bothered to write such an article and engage in an argument with other opposition groups. As far as I'm concerned they could sit in their offices in exile forever and either mourn about the past or resort to insults and baseless accusations. They do not really pose a threat or even a credible challenge to my aims
But since my first and foremost desire for Iran is democracy, I need to warn these opposition groups that their approach toward the RP phenomenon sn not only wrong but is bound to end up in disaster.
Given the current state that IRI is in and the strategy that the rest of the world has adapted toward it, the collapse of this regime is immanent. The only question now is when and how many victims it will claim.
After the IRI is out of the way, RP might very well get his referendum. However the absence of an effective participation from all other opposition groups during current critical times and the fact that instead of directing their energy in getting rid of IRI these groups spent all their time and effort in fighting among themselves or even acting as an obstacle on the way of those (like RP) who were actually trying to do something, will erode whatever credibility or popularity they might have left amongst the ordinary Iranians.
As a result they would not have any real mandate form the ordinary man/woman in the streets of Iran to argue for the type of governing system that they want for Iran and hence would not be taken seriously on that referendum. This could easily result in the next referendum becoming (just like the one in 1979) another farcical show of Yes/No votes for monarchy, instead of giving the people the chance of an informed selection between constitutional monarchy and republic or any other type of government
So I am afraid you guys do not have much choice or even much time left. You can either sit around the same table with RP to negotiate with him as equal partners in order to come up with a sensible deal which first and foremost serves the interests of our nation or you would be marginalised as irrelevant and hence we all might have to embrace ourselves for another 30 years of dictatorship.
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