Fmr. Iranian crown prince: Nuclear deal mistake, Ayatollahs won’t change

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Former crown prince of Iran Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late shah of Iran, warned that the Biden administration’s intent to rejoin the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran is a mistake and that the deal was based on the misconception that the current regime would change its ways. He spoke in an interview with Israel Hayom published on Sunday.

“They said they would return to the nuclear deal when their sworn enemy (the regime in Iran) rushed to quintuple the rate of uranium enrichment,” said Pahlavi about the administration’s statements concerning returning to the deal. “This is blackmail of the free world. The only smart solution to the concerns of the Americans, the peoples of the region and for the Iranian people, is to support Iran’s struggle for freedom and democracy.”

Pahlavi explained to Israel Hayom that the nuclear deal is based on “the misconception of behavioral change,” adding that “it will not happen. The Iranians know that the regime is not led by its national interests, but by its corrupt and criminal interests. That is why in my talks with foreign leaders I explain to them that the only real solution is to support the needs of the Iranian people.”

“The destructive actions of the regime are not beneficial to any long-term relationship with the free world,” added Pahlavi, who added that many Iranian activists have sent a letter to US President Joe Biden concerning the planned return to the nuclear deal.

“With the economic benefits of the agreement, the regime controlled three Arab capitals and frightened even more. The agreement also helped support extremist Palestinians at the expense of the moderates and damaged Israel’s security,” said Pahlavi. “In countries like Iraq and Lebanon, where civilians fear militias like Hezbollah, the financial damage has led to demonstrations against the effects of the Islamic Republic.”

Pahlavi stressed that while he doubts Iran is months away from attaining nuclear weapons, “they do not need them at all because they have the ability to sow turmoil in the area.”

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Biden has stated that he will only rejoin the nuclear deal if Iran returns to its prior commitments and his administration has stated that it will pursue a deal that also handles Iran’s destabilizing activities in the region.

Pahlavi additionally expressed support for the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreements signed between Israel and a number of Arab countries, comparing the possibilities opened to citizens of these countries to the “suffering and misery of the ‘Axis of Resistance’ countries – my Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Syria.”

“They gained social, cultural, educational, health and economic ties. However, the victory is not complete until Iran is freed from the darkness of resistance to the light of the alliance. I hope it happens soon,” said Pahlavi.

Pahlavi stressed that as long as the Islamic Revolution is in power in Iran, the country will never normalize relations with Israel.

“Unlike countries that define themselves with what they support, that is, prosperity and progress for their people, the ayatollahs’ regime defines itself through what it opposes,” said Pahlavi. “This is not a tactic, but a hatred that will not go away. It is necessary to create a common enemy that will unite different factions. It’s an ideological glue that keeps them going.”

“The Iranian people are full of desire for peace with Israel, as with all the countries in the region and in general that respect our sovereignty,” added Pahlavi, emphasizing that “the biblical relationship between Iran and the Jewish people is deeply engraved in our culture and history, and will be renewed once the regime falls.”

The former crown prince expressed that he has “no doubt” that the current regime will fall soon. “In the last three years there has been such a drastic change that only a few still believe that the younger generation will agree to endure the oppressive regime,” said Pahlavi.

Pahlavi stressed that most of the Iranian people see the Islamic Republic as “a continuing failure – from the economy, to the environment, to health, to relations with the world, the regime has failed at everything. It is an anti-Iranian and non-Iranian regime.”

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Pahlavi added that sources in Iran “point out that the regime’s collapse in popularity is accelerating, and part of that is even a decline in support from within the establishment itself.”

Amid the variety of threats issued by Iran in recent months against Israel, the US and other countries in the region and around the world, Pahlavi stressed that “The belligerent and hateful chants are not just rhetoric. The regime poses a threat to Middle Eastern countries that it is trying to undermine their sovereignty with the help of their militias.”

Pahlavi expressed an interest in visiting Israel, saying that he was especially interested in meeting with Iranians living in Israel. “They maintain a better way of life than is possible under the Islamic Republic, which dislikes our history and heritage,” said Pahlavi to Israel Hayom.

“I think Israel can help Iran in the hi-tech and environmental fields. The Israeli knowledge about water can help my country which, like Israel, has a lot of concerns about it,” added Pahlavi.

In response to a question of whether Pahlavi would want relations to be strong with Israel if he were to return to power, the former crown prince stressed that he is “not looking for power for himself” but rather is “interested in being a voice for my people and supporting them.”

Pahlavi heads the National Council of Iran for Free Elections, an umbrella group of more than 30 Iranian opposition organizations that are currently in exile. “My goal is to liberate the country and establish a secular democracy based on the will of the people. I have no doubt that Cyrus’s children always have a special place in the hearts of the people of Israel,” said Pahlavi.

“The Islamic regime, from its inception, has celebrated death. On the other hand, my favorite toast is the Jewish ‘cheers’ – to life! We Iranians, as a civilization, prefer to celebrate life rather than death. Those who think like us, like the citizens of Israel, are our natural friends and allies,” concluded Pahlavi.

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Pahlavi is the son of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last shah of Iran. His father came into power after his grandfather was ousted by the Soviet Union and UK in 1941. The shah had international support, including from the US and UK, and implemented a wide range of reforms, including infrastructure, agricultural, educational and medical projects, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Despite the reforms implemented by the shah, he faced widespread opposition among the lower classes, Shi’ite Iranians, merchants and students due to his autocratic rule, alleged corruption, forced Westernization and operations by the SAVAK, the secret police, which suppressed opposition and dissent by arresting, torturing and executing many dissidents and censoring media and academics. Thousands of people were killed and tortured by SAVAK. Some of the facilities used by the SAVAK are used by the current Iranian government as well. After a series of riots and protests, he left Iran with his family and the Islamic Revolution took power with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khomeini. The Pahlavis have since lived in exile, and Mohammad Reza passed away in 1980 in Egypt.

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