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Kobra Khanom

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Our demands
We'll give Mr. Pahlavi a chance, if...

By Kobra Khanom
January 29, 2001
The Iranian

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 stadium!

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 in exile.

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 every year.

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 Western-struckness.

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, toward change.

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 promises.

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