Reza Pahlavi, Crown Prince of Iran, and to his most devoted followers His Imperial Majesty the Shah, has been following the turbulent events of his country closer than perhaps any exile in the past five or six months.
I met him this week in a hotel room in Washington DC, near where he lives. While we talked over mineral water and fish and chips he pulled out his BlackBerry to see the latest news of the street protests in Tehran.
The repression of his fellow Iranians by the Ahmadinejad regime, still in place after the rigged elections of the summer, angers him profoundly.
“When I think that today we Iranians have to be represented by these people, warmongering, terrorist-sponsoring, Holocaust denying – can I possibly sit here and say nothing? I don’t want anything in return. I do it because it is my duty,” he says.
In exile since his father was deposed in 1979, the Prince, 49, remains the figurehead for the three or four million strong Iranian diaspora. Since the elections he has stepped up calls for civil disobedience by Iranians, and for external support for that. His many conduits of information from Iran tell him the regime is fragmenting, and he eagerly awaits a tipping point.