The enigma of the Iranian diaspora

While the Islamic Republic's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, for his part, has been vocal through his speeches, statements, and practices about finding a candidate to follow and carry on his revolutionary ideals to national leadership, Iranians in exile have not been able to reconcile their differences in order to appoint someone at the helm.

Many believed that the son of the deposed shah of Iran would be an ideal candidate to lead his fellow expatriates to freedom and democracy.  Many people both in Iran and abroad stand with him and trust that they have found their man to come to rescue them from the plight of the Islamic regime.  Little do they realize that Prince Pahlavi is all hat and no cattle.

The Pahlavi dynasty is insulated and does not have a presence inside Iran.  It has some visibility in the United States and Europe.  Occasionally, there are events and meetings with politicians and interviews with major networks in the U.S. and Europe, where they try to remain relevant.

In an interview with Iran International, Prince Pahlavi expressed his true intention for the future of Iran.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, he will not go out of his way to become a revolutionary agent for change whose sole mission is to free the Iranian nation from the hands of the Islamic butchers.  In his humanitarian mind, the people of Iran must fight the regime and then turn Iran over to him.

Let me reiterate: Prince Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last shah of Iran, would be an ideal candidate to lead an Iranian government in exile, but for some unknown reason, he refuses to work with his compatriots and take an active role to become the agent of change and lead this enterprise.  After all, tens of thousands of Iranian people shout his name and want him back.

Prince Pahlavi himself has consistently said he is not seeking the throne.  Today, he takes no money from any foreign governments.  Instead, Pahlavi sees himself as someone who can bring attention to the free world about the struggle for freedom in his native land.  OK, fine.  But he should let his avid fans know that he has no intention to lead Iranians in order to free themselves from the sadistic mullahs.  That's the least he can do.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Mr. Pahlavi said:

I am the kind of person that looks at the glass as half full[.] ... Imagine if I was ushered in as the crown prince. I don't think I would have had 1 percent of the experience and knowledge of living in a free society and a democratic country has given me." He said his experience of living in America is the best gift he can give to Iranians organizing today for a transition out of their tyranny.

The fact is that forty long years have passed, and the democratic Iranian opposition hasn't moved as much as an inch.  It is no wonder that hired guns and former American and European bigwigs lobby for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) or MEK, a terrorist group.

While the Iranian diaspora is largely Western-educated and well-to-do, its members have remained connected to the country of their birth through two main channels: family ties and satellite broadcasts.

Mr. Pahlavi's support base must understand that even though the son of the late shah may be the leader the opposition needs to move the ball forward, he must do more than just a few interviews and some events.  He needs to be more active and use his excellent and articulate communication skills with the leaders of the world to support regime change in Iran.

Today, Mr. Pahlavi does present an ideal picture of Iran's future, but his lack of transparency with his supporters remains counterproductive.

Life is too short, and no one lives forever.  We all know that the situation in Iran is dire, and at any moment, this regime could collapse.  Although Iran is saturated with great minds and leaders who could navigate the ship to safety, under the current circumstances, Mr. Reza Pahlavi has two choices.  Either he joins the opposition and leads or he steps aside and allows others to rise.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.