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Source: RFE/RL

Mar 1, 2023

Reza Pahlavi, the former crown prince of Iran, says the fall of the Islamic republic and the establishment of a democratic government would not only liberate Iranians from the tyranny of a "terrorist regime," but also benefit global peace and stability and ensure the interests of the international community.

Pahlavi, currently in the United Kingdom on the third phase of a European trip after attending the Munich Security Conference alongside other political activists, said in a speech at the Oxford Union student society on February 28 that a regime change would end human rights violations, an aggressive foreign policy, and "behavior inconsistent with peace and stability" now occurring in Iran.

Pahlavi's father, the former Shah of Iran, was deposed during the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The crown prince, who has lived in exile since he was 17, is using his tour across Europe to work with the West on issues such as making the Internet more accessible to Iranians, who are constrained by the regime's throttling of cyberspace to keep dissent from spreading, and to proscribe the country's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) military force.

Prior to his speech at the Oxford Union, Pahlavi met with British lawmakers along with Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

The two also asked Iranian protester Vahid Beheshti, who has been on a hunger strike outside the House of Commons for days, to end his hunger strike. Beheshti had been protesting to persuade Britain to label the IRGC as a terrorist organization.

Pahlavi is scheduled to speak at the European Parliament on March 10 at the invitation of Charlie Weimers, a representative of Sweden in the European Parliament.Iran has been roiled by unrest that was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16.

The 22-year-old died while in custody after being arrested by the notorious morality police for improperly wearing a mandatory Islamic head scarf, or hijab.Her death, which officials blamed on a heart attack, touched off a wave of anti-government protests in cities across the country.

The authorities have met the unrest with a harsh crackdown that rights groups say has killed more than 500 people, including 71 children.Officials, who have blamed the West for the demonstrations, have vowed to crack down even harder on protesters. The protests pose the biggest threat to the Islamic government since the 1979 revolution.

On February 10, a group of exiled Iranian opposition figures pleaded for unity and an end to infighting to help recent nationwide protests in Iran against the country's Islamic theocracy.The eight figures, including Pahlavi, said they were working on a charter for a transition to a new pluralistic system that would be followed by free elections.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda
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