It is only a “matter of time” until the end of the Islamic Republic regime in Iran, Reza Pahlavi, the exiled eldest son of the last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, told Saudi newspaper Arab News from Washington DC.
His father was overthrown in the 1979 revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini, who then founded the Islamic Republic.
Pahlavi said Iran’s youth want a different life. He said, “Not only has the regime lost its legitimacy, but it’s beginning to lose its grasp as well.”
The clerical regime wants “to export an ideology and dominate the region either directly or via proxies,” he said, adding that it is incapable of coming to terms with the rest of the world.
Iran and world powers have been engaged in talks in Vienna since April aimed at reviving the nuclear deal which former US president Donald Trump abandoned in 2018 while reimposing crippling economic sanctions on Iran.
Pahlavi said lifting sanctions on Tehran will only embolden the Islamic Republic clerics and create further instability in the region.
“I think the only way to get more results is not by relaxing pressure but by exerting more pressure,” he said. “This will be beneficial for the Iranian people who pay the price every time the regime gets a second breath.”
Pahlavi said he does not expect the Iranian people to receive any of the economic benefits that the regime would obtain should the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna result in Tehran getting sanctions relief.
“We saw during the Obama administration, when a tremendous amount of money was released to the regime and none of it was spent on the people of Iran.”
Asked about Iran’s support for regional militias, Pahlavi said the interests of the Iranian people and their rulers are entirely different.
“The regime has every interest to continue fomenting instability because its survival depends on that,” he said. “But our national interest depends on having stability and peace with our neighbours, as opposed to constantly meddling in their internal affairs.”
Commenting on a recent interview in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Saudi Arabia wants a “prosperous” Iran and aspires to have good relations with Tehran, Pahlavi said: “I think it’s a message to the people of Iran more than to the regime. It will certainly be well received by the people.”
He added that, “The regime is on its way down, and sooner or later people will be free in Iran, and they will be the ones to have to choose and respond to this gesture.”
Pahlavi said he anticipates good relations between Iran and its neighbours, once the current regime in Tehran is gone.
He praised the Abraham Accords between Israel and some Arab countries, saying, “The Iranian people, in contrast to their clerical rulers, have no animosity toward Israel. Once Iran is liberated, the people of Iran will be the first to say to Israel: hey, we have no quarrels with you. We want to be part of the free world.”