Shah’s late son calls for ‘women’s revolution’ in Iran

The late Shah’s son hailed Iran’s mass protests as a significant revolution by women and urged the world to step up pressure on the clerical leadership.

Reza Pahlavi, whose father was at the helm of the Islamic Revolution in 1979, called for more preparations to be made for a secular and democratic system in Iran in the future.

“It is true in the modern world, in my opinion, the first revolution for women, by women — with the support of Iranian men, sons, brothers and fathers,” Pahlavi, who lives in exile in the Washington area, AFP said.

“It has come to the point, as the Spanish would say, basta — we have enough.”

Demonstrations have rocked major cities, and many have been killed, since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died on September 16 in the custody of Iran’s notorious morality police, who allegedly violated strict requirements for women to wear in public.

Although he also condemns discrimination against minorities and the LGBTQ community, Pahlavi said, “Women represent today’s symbolism of oppression.”

“I think that most of the women of Iran, when they look at the freedoms that women have in life for free and exercise, want the same rights for themselves,” he said.

His grandfather, Reza Shah, banned all Islamic witches in 1936 as part of a Westernization drive inspired by neighboring Turkey.

The last Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, allowed the veil to be an option – which ended when the Islamic Republic put requirements for the “modesty” of women in public.

Pahlavi, a father of three daughters, said that Iranian society has come a long way from the days of “male chauvinism” and that women’s choices should be respected.

“Women can decide to wear the veil or not. But it should be a choice, a free choice, not imposed for ideological or religious reasons,” he said.

– Separation of church and state –

Pahlavi says that while he respects much of the exiled community, he does not want to restore the monarchy, an idea that has limited support inside Iran.

Working with the opposition abroad, Pahlavi favors an assembly that would write a new constitution.

“There is no way you can have a true democratic order without a clear definition and separation of church and state,” Pahlavi said.

The Islamic republic has survived for more than four decades despite opposition and countermeasures from the West, especially the United States.

But Pahlavi argued that the system could end at any time – and that the world must be ready.

“We have to consider the high possibility that this regime will not exist for the foreseeable future,” he said.

“I have been saying for some time – it could happen in a few weeks or a few months, and we have to think about the alternative.”

Pahlavi said there should be a “controlled march” for a smooth, peaceful transition.

He praised many of the strong international views on the protests, including from Germany and Canada.

But he called for further action including expelling diplomats and freezing assets.

“It’s important to give more than moral support. These are the kinds of measures that have an impact,” he said.

He renewed his call for a strike fund to compensate workers, in the hope that the demonstrations across the country could become a general strike.

While advocating diplomacy, Pahlavi expressed concern about the potential return of the United States to the nuclear deal in 2015 under which Iran would again be allowed to sell oil openly on world markets.

Western powers often believe they can “create an incentive for the regime to change its behavior, so we can pull them back to be good boys and behave,” Pahlavi said.

But the Islamic Republic, he said, is rooted in the export of ideology.

“With this regime, you cannot coexist.”

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