VOA OFOGH: Crown Prince Reza Debates with Hassan Shariatmadari on Secularism


VOA OFOGH: Crown Prince Reza Debates with Hassan Shariatmadari on Secularism
by Darius Kadivar

Siamak Dehganpour hosts VOA talk show with a debate between Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi and Hassan Shariatmadari


About Hassan Shariatmadari:

Hassan Shariatmadari is an Iranian opposition politician and a leading proponent of the Free Elections Movement (Jonbeshe Entekhabate Azad) in Iran. He is the son of Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Kazem Shariatmadari (one of the most powerful Shia clerics of Iran in the 1960s and 70s).[1] During the Pahlavi regime, he supported his father’s position that the Shah’s authority should be limited to what had been specified in the Constitutional revolution of 1906, and that a democratic parliament should be in charge of running the country instead of the monarchy taking an active role in ruling Iran. Between 1973-1980 he served as the Chief Editor of Payame Shadi and Nalse Now monthly magazines for children and youth.

At the time of the Iranian revolution of 1979, Shariatmadari co-founded the Iranian People’s Republican Party (IPRP). A firm believer in the separation of religion and politics, his movement resisted the establishment of the Velayat-e faqih(Rule of the Jurist) system in Iran and was violently crushed by the Iranian revolutionary guard and the Basij in 1980 after which he went into exile. At its height, IPRP was able to mobilize more than a million people in the Azarbayjanprovince of Iran to protest against Khomeini’s rule.

In 1983, Shariatmadari joined forces with several nationalist and center leftist groups to form the National Republicans of Iran, a coalition aimed at uniting a broad range of secular forces under a common political umbrella organization. In 2004, he joined other secular political leaders of the opposition in the formation of United Republicans for Iran (URI) (Etehadieh Jomhoori khahan), once the largest coalition of Iranian opposition groups after the revolution. The URI envisioned Iran as a democratic republic with constitutional guarantees of civil, political, social rights and individual liberties, separation of religion and state, sustainable social development, gender equality, rights of minorities, and increased local decision-making authority, and supported a non-violent struggle path towards democracy.

Shariatmadari holds two Master’s degrees, one in Physics from Aryamehr University of Technology (currently Sharif University of Technology) and one in Law from Tehran University. In parallel to his university studies, he studied theology and philosophy at the Qom Shia Seminary, and is intimately familiar with Islamic jurisprudence.


About Reza Pahlavi Crown Prince of Iran : 

Reza Pahlavi was born in Tehran, Iran on October 31, 1960 to the late Shah of Iran and Empress Farah Pahlavi. As Crown Prince of Iran and the oldest of four siblings, he left Iran at the age of 17 for air force training, during which time the establishment of the clerical regime in Iran prevented his return to his homeland. Despite being forced to live in exile, Reza Pahlavi’s commitment and patriotic duty to Iran endures.

After leaving Iran, Reza Pahlavi completed his higher education with a degree in political science from the University of Southern California. An accomplished jet fighter pilot, Reza Pahlavi completed the United States Air Force Training Program at the Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock, Texas. During the Iran-Iraq War, Reza Pahlavi volunteered to serve his country’s military as a fighter pilot, but was declined by the clerical regime.

For over thirty years, Reza Pahlavi has been a leader and advocate of the principles of freedom, democracy and human rights for his countrymen. He maintains constant contact with his compatriots both inside and outside the country. Pahlavi travels the world meeting with heads of state, legislators, policy-makers, interest groups and student groups speaking about the plight of Iranians under the Islamic regime in Iran. He consistently speaks out against the widespread abuse and oppression of the Iranian people and calls for the establishment of a secular democracy in Iran. Since the fraudulent elections of 2009, Pahlavi's singular message of solidarity and unity for a secular and democratic Iran has taken on a new air of urgency.

In addition to numerous articles, Reza Pahlavi has written three books, on the state of affairs in Iran: Gozashteh va Ayandeh (Kayhan Publishing, 2000); Winds of Change: The Future of Democracy in Iran (Regnery, 2002); and IRAN: L’Heure du Choix [IRAN: The Deciding Hour] (Denoël, 2009).

Reza Pahlavi has lived in exile since 1978. He married Yasmine Etemad-Amini on June 12, 1986. They have three daughters: Noor Pahlavi (born April 3, 1992), Iman Pahlavi (born September 12, 1993), and Farah Pahlavi (born January 17, 2004).

Yasmine is a graduate of The George Washington University School of Law with a Doctorate in Juries Prudence. She was admitted to the Bar and practiced for ten years as a lawyer, for the Children’s Law Center, as a legal advocate for at-risk youth. Yasmine also founded the Foundation for the Children of Iran (FCI) in 1991. FCI, a non-profit foundation, provides complex, life saving, free health care services to indigent Iranian children.

Reza Pahlavi's siblings include his sister Farahnaz Pahlavi (March 12, 1963), brother Ali-Reza Pahlavi (April 28, 1966-January 4, 2011), and sister Leila Pahlavi (March 27, 1970 – June 10, 2001), as well as half-sister, Shahnaz Pahlavi (October 27, 1940).

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more from Darius Kadivar

نقد حسن شریعتمداری در بحث با شاهزاده رضا پهلوی


Banafsheh Zolfaghari

First rate discourse

by Banafsheh Zolfaghari on

Excellent discourse.  Eye opening and quite educational, at least for me.

Quite impressed by the civility of the two parties.  Impressed by Mr. Shariatmadari's clarity of thought as son of a Shi'a Marja'a. Really impressed by Mr. Pahlavi's statement that he would choose a republican system over monorchy, if it were not going to be constitutional.  Most surprising of all his command of the Farsi language, expected him to mumble and stumble.

Good positive energy.  

Bravo VOA! 



by Faramarz on



I believe that most Reformers have to go through these steps to ultimately accept the obvious that the Regime will not surrender without a fight.

The reformers usually go through the following steps; "Regime can change if we could only enforce the constitution", then "the Regime will change but not in our life time", then "let the Iranians in Iran do whatever they want to do", then "the referendum by the Regime" and finally they understand that the Regime has to go and it has to go soon.

I was also surprised at his tone towards Reza Pahlavi. This was a discussion about Secular Democracy and not monarchy. I guess by being a little aggressive and somewhat rude, he wanted to make sure that everybody knows that he doesn't support monarchy.

He could've just come out and said that!



by Shemirani on

By two times the interviewer said Kashf hejab az bala tasmimgiri shode was it good or not ?? ...I heard Million times this SAFSATE from many iranians: Kafshe Hejab was by force of police ( BeZooor) !!! akhey  kheli badjens boodan !!! vay vay


Its Very simple to understand it wasn't ! Reza Shah did a great thing to make it LEGAL ! Law was made to protect woman, to allow them to take off the Hejab without fearing violent reaction from narrowminded people ! If there wasn't a law to protect them,Any woman biHejab could walk in the street without risking to be violented (fosh, sang, kotak...) !!! as simple as that but yet people don't want to get it !!

IT WAS A POGRESS FOR IRAN ! (go see picture of woman under Qajars period)

AS PERSIAN WOMAN I'M VERY THANKFUL OF REZA SHAH ! It allowed me (and manyyy others of course) to have a Granny without Hejab, after that a mother without hejab and workingwoman ....because of that and i didn't ended like Afghani with a Burka as uniform !!!!! (I'mTired of anarchic bullshits against laws or feminists who doesn't know where they are coming from (des nana qui se prennent pour simon de beauvoir sans rien comprendre à rien !! Think a bit before judging the past) the people who were against that was the akhoond shepeshoo stop repeating their lies !


اشنایی با رقیبان


اقای شریتمداری نشان داد که چقدر از دنیای واقعی دور است، و دوم اینکه واقعأ نشان داد که چقدر از اقای پهلوی متنفر است و اولین قدم با تنش و هجوم وار بود.
اقای شریتمداری بچه اخوند شاید بتواند فرم سکیلار را تا حدی توضیح بدهد ولی کسی نیست که منافع ملی برایش مهم باشد وگرنه مثل رژیم اسلامی از طرف ملت پاسخ نمیداد که ملت جمهوری میخواهد. اقای شریتمداری از کجا میداند که ملت چی میخواهند؟ منافع ملی ایران اتحاد بودن برای سرنگونی رژیم است و بعد  اقای شریتمداری میتوانند ثابت بکنند که ملت بعد از رایگیری جمهوری خواستند نه امروز . اگر کسانی مثل اقای شریتمداری فکر میکنند با حمله به اقای پهلوی میتوانند موفق شوند ، سخت در اشتباهند، چون این باعث جدایی میشود نه اتحاد.
این سنجشی بود بر دید دو شخص ایرانی که اینده ایران را چطور راهنمایی خواهند کرد و امیدوارم که بجای شعار دادن  متحد شوند و ملت بتوانند اینده ایران را مشخص کنند



by JustAnIranian on

For me, this doesn't make any sense. Anybody with a little bit of brain will see that this regime is not going to allow a referendum. Judging from this debate, Hasan Shariatmadari has brains.

I have given this a lot of thought and finally came to the conclusion that these people are afraid of Reza Pahlavi. They don't want him back as a Monarch or in a Jomhoory. They don't want him in the referendum that they are talking about. 

There was a poll on the internet a while back, Monarchy did not get a majority of votes, BUT republic did and Reza Pahlavi was the president of choice. 

As I said before: Hasan Shariatmadari introduced himself very well in this debate. At least I personally know where I stand now.


The Finer Points of the Debate

by Faramarz on

The main disagreement between Reza Pahlavi and Hasan Shariatmadari is that while they both believe in Secular Democracy and Regime Change, Shariatmadari sees the change through a referendum while the Regime is still in power. Reza Pahlavi sees the referendum taking place after the Regime is gone.

That is a key difference and I believe that over time people will come to accept that the Regime will never allow a referendum to take place when the outcome is already clear.


Hasan Shariatmadari

by JustAnIranian on

I am very glad about this debate. For me Hasan Shariatmadari introduced himself very well. Should have known he was just another 'bacheh akhoond'. 


Darius Kadivar

Did I hear "Secular Democracy" ? ... ;0))

by Darius Kadivar on


Roshanfekr SonatBarandaz e Iran kojan ?

by Shemirani on

Thanks for sharing !

I'm glad iranians inside had the opportunity to watch a debate about secularism !!!

Prince Reza Pahlavi is brillant !


Where are Iran's true intellectuals ???

PRP must do their job while they are asleep ?!! 

 We do have a big lack of true intello among our nation !!!! But we have  a tonesss of fake Roshanfekr (gharghe din o sonat ta kherkhere !!!), from S.Ebadi to R.Jahanbegloo , From D.Shayegan to  E.Yashater , from Madj to Sadr, from Ghanji to B.Moshiri (yes even him is deeply sonati (malgres ses apparences )!! with people like this how do you want to build a modern nation :( and get out of middle age and inquisition ! can we follow this bunch of medievalians en costumes trois pieces ?! they misleaded our people for decades and still doing it !

Besides Prof Ansari i don't know any Roshanfekr be tamam maana !!!

 We had A.Kasravi, S.Hedayat, Shojaedin Shafa, they are all dead and may them RIP but who are the true intello still alive ??? Do know some ?...any name to share ? i will love to find out about them !!!


Hasan Shariatmadari

by JustAnIranian on

With all due respect, Hasan Shariatmadari does not seem to realize that reform is dead.

I would love to believe that it is still possible - but it is impossible.