11. Monarchy, Republic, and 21st Century Constitution
A. Reza Pahlavi and Referendum
The agents of Reza Palavi are blaring for democracy in every corner because I have said for Iranian people, that people do not want monarchy, and because I wrote that people because of fearing the return of monarchy and coming to power of mojAhedin Khalgh Organization (MKO), have not taken the last step to end Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), and the monarchists are angry that I have written Dissolving Monarchy and MKO is the Way to End IRI.
And as usual the agents of monarchy and MKO throw the dirty swear words, while Reza Pahlavi sits with so-called "humility" and pleasance in TV interviews, and talks of not having political ambitions, and repeats that he is very democratic, and says that he will follow people's vote, when people choose between monarchy and republic in a referendum. But what is the reality?
Can Ayatollah Monatazeri also ask for a referendum for the position of VF and see if Khamene'i or Montazeri, will get the popular votes? Iranian people have not voted for the person in charge of VF, and if one says that is not an elective position, then by definition monarchy and kings are not elective either.
Let's assume tomorrow Mr. Banisadr to request for a referendum about the remainder of his presidency, and says that he is a real democrat, and wants people to decide about his role, and not that the intellectuals tell him that he is not sought for by Iranian people.
In fact, Banisadr has more legitimacy to ask for such a vote by the people, because he left Iran fearing for his life from VF, and not like the Shah who left fearing the *people*. Banisadr was forced to escape before the end of his term of presidency, and no referendum was held after his departure, although he had come to his position by people's vote, and not by kinship. It is true that because of Khomeini's recommendation, Banisadr won the presidency, nonetheless it was an election.
In contrast, with regards to Shah's monarchy, not only people went to the streets shouting "Death to the Shah," for at least two years, before February 1979, people also voted overwhelmingly after the Revolution, in a referendum, for ending the monarchy, and in fact the Islamic Republic, used the anti-monarchy vote, to legitimize the Islamic Republic, because Secular Republic was not among the choices. Even now, any vote would never bring back the monarchy, and people's fear is that monarchy to be pushed on Iran again, as in the 1953 coup, by the U.S.
The Pahlavi monarchy has been history for 25 years, and even though there has been a referendum for it once, and people have overwhelmingly rejected it, Reza Pahlavi has made the monarchy, people's problem again, for 25 years, and people ask if monarchy is going to be forced on them by the U.S. again, and the choice of a CIA prime minister in Iraq, has added to these fears, and let's not ask what all this says about Reza Pahlavi's claim of so-called not having political ambitions!
Have the Iranian people come from behind the mountains (a Persian expression!) Mr. Reza Pahlavi likes to force a vote on Iranian people for the power of his family, and this is why he is not calling the end of Pahlavi Dynasty. And this way we can understand the meaning of the democracy he is advocating.
If this is democracy, why not all other Iranian families ask for vote for monarchy in the name of their respective families? Are other Iranian families any less than the Pahlavis? Is it democratic that they ask for referendum for their family to be kings and queens, and others can't?
If the criteria is a family, then the family of Dr. Mossadegh have more of a democratic tradition than the Pahlavi family. Then how about calling for monarchy of Mr. Matin-Daftari and vote for that? Of course, I know Matin-Daftari would not be interested in such a referendum.
These talks are all games. Mr. Reza Pahlavi better come down from his horse and not think that the threats of his agents and the logic that I noted above, can deceive the Iranian people.
In reaction to the threats of his agents, we will also defend ourselves, and the swear words of Sha'boon Bimokhs will be returned to Reza Pahlavi himself, the same way we defended ourselves in front of the bullets of the Shah. This is not the August of 1953 anymore, that they can deride us by their swear words and intimidations and Iranians will fight back the monarchist thugs.
25 years of continuation of Sha'boon Bimokh's legacy in Iran, by his hezbollahi colleagues, like Allah Karam, has taught Iranian people a lot, and we know that the day after the collapse of IRI, we will have to face the Sha'boon Bimokhs of monarchy and MKO. It is a shame that after all these crimes by the thugs in the last 25 years, these opposition forces are the same dictatorial forces of the Shah and Islamists.
Just recently in Spring 2004, Iranian monarchy, in the funeral procession of Susan, the Iranian singer who passed away in Los Angeles, had Sha'boon Bimokh next to the flower bouquets of Reza Pahlavi and Farah Pahlavi, escorting. If Mr. Reza Pahlavi is so much interested in democracy, the first step is to announce the end of Pahlavi dictatorship, and not to revive its symbols like Sha'boon Bimokh.
Iranian people never had the opportunity to vote for a secular republic, and in reality, Reza Pahlavi is again sacrificing secularism, for the interests of monarchy, and in his closed-door agreements with various mollahs, he is promising them sharing the power, which translates to weakening of Iran's future secularism. Why? Because Reza Pahlavi wants to trade secularism with mollah's support for restoration of monarchy.
Iranian pro-democracy movement had said about 1953 coup to be a CIA coup, years before official documents showed it to be the case, and today we are saying about the secret deals of Reza Pahlavi and the mollahs, and future will show if we are right or not about him compromising secularism for the sake of returning his family to power.
B. Monarchy distracting Iranian pro-democracy movement for secular republic
For over two decades the political debate inside Iranian political circles has revolved around the issue of so-called "monarchy" versus republic, and this has wasted so much time and energy of IRI opposition without any tangible results. One may think the Iranian monarchists are another group of Iranian intellectuals, who happen to want to form a monarchy in Iran, just as there are groups of Iranian political intellectuals who want to form a "democratic republic" or a "socialist republic" in Iran.
This is a completely erroneous view of reality, but it has become a perception, which is causing a lot of useless debates, that has nothing to do with the political reality of Iranian opposition. These technocrats were *not* political intellectuals, albeit the pro-Shah ones, but were and *are* simply the technocrats of the time of the Shah, who shared only the economic and technical aspirations of the Shah's time, and at best tolerated the repressive political system of Shah's monarchy, including its Savak.
This is why all the discussions about Mossadegh versus the Shah, or similar discussions about the system of monarchy, really have nothing to do with what these educated people are looking for, when they refer to themselves as the so-called Iranian "monarchists". They were technocrats who were thrown out of the system with Shah's regime falling apart, and in fact they shared with the political intellectuals of Iran, even during Shah's regime, the desire for a modern system in Iran.
Monarchy was a block to prevent these technocrats to unite with the majority of Iranian political intellectuals, the intellectuals who were *politically* striving for a modern system in Iran, at the expense of getting arrested and tortured by Shah's Savak. The elimination of monarchy should have helped the unity of Iranian technocrats, with the democratic and modern-minded Iranian political intellectuals, rather than setting these two main sections of Iranian educated people, face to face as adversaries, under the opposite flags of so-called "monarchy" and republic.
The Iranian monarchists of the last 20 years are basically *not* a faction of Iranian political intellectuals, alongside the liberal and socialist political intellectuals, although they *are* a very educated group of Iranians, who are basically *non-political* technocrats, who mostly *avoided* politics due to the dictatorial political system of Shah's years in Iran, and their ideals have nothing to do with the repressive political system of monarchy in Iran.
In other words, as far as Iranian *political* intellectuals are concerned, they have all been republican all these years, although some being futurist, democrat, secular, liberal, socialist, religious, or other shades of the political spectrum. Except for a very small handful of Savak functionaries, there are hardly anyone asking for the *return* of the past monarchy, and *past* monarchy is the *only* platform for monarchy, since we do not know of any group or family striving for start of a *new* monarchy in Iran.
It is now time to drop the useless discussion of monarchy versus republic, and start planning a republic that would be *modern* and *secular*, before it is too late. It is not to the advantage of Iranian technocrats (aka so-called Iranian "monarchists") to end up in a state like that of Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, which is another Islamic Republic, albeit a more liberal one.
After all these sacrifices, the Iranian technocrats, as well as all the people of Iran, deserve a true secular democracy, a federal democratic republic, rather than another version of an Islamic Republic. We should focus on developing the constitution of such a republic. We do not have an existing monarchy to look for ways to moderate it thru constitutional reforms. We need a brand new republican constitution for Iran to begin with, a document that can work as the proper roadmap for our future. Now let's take a look at the republican groups.
After Reza Khan changed his republican plan, and went for a monarchy of his own, still the opposition of Mossadegh to Reza Shah, was to block him from having all three branches of government, and basically nationalists asked for the new Pahlavi monarchy to be a constitutional monarchy. In the later years, Mossadegh and Jebhe Melli called for "shah saltanat konad na hokoomat" (king should be a monarch and not a ruler), and this became the motto of Jebhe Melli all thru the years of 1949 to 1978.
Jebhe and the Islamists were *not* republican, and as far as secularism, Jebhe did not even challenge the veto of five mojteheds in the old constitution of Iran, and always worked closely with the Shi'a clergy, and considered eslAmiat and Iraniat as the two bases of unity of Iran. When the likes of Ahmad Kasravi were murdered, Jebhe basically kept silent, and continued working closely with the clergy.
In the last years of the Shah, Ayatollah Khomeini went for an "Islamic Republic", and only in the last stages of the 1979 revolution, Jebhe Melli broke up internally, and one part headed by Dr. Shahpour Bakhtiar stayed with the monarchy, and the other part of Jebhe, finally gave up its efforts of moderating the monarchy, and supported Khomeini's plan of *Islamic* Republic.
Ever since the start of IRI, Jebhe Melli has become a republican force, but only in the sense of trying to moderate the Islamic Republic, supporting one IRI faction after another, within the so-called reformist factions of IRI, and *not* being a thorough secular republican force, calling for an end to Shi'a clergy's presence in the Iranian state.
Jebhe Melli has been calling for the removal of the VF (IRI Supreme Leader) in the Islamic Republic, or to have VF as a constitutional king who does not rule. Jebhe has never called for removal of Shi'a clergy from the judicial or other branches of government in Iran.
Furthermore, Jebhe Melli still does not support federalism in Iran, and their economic plan for Iran, as far as the oil industry is concerned, which comprises over 90% of Iran's economy, is still supporting the state ownership, the state ownership which has always been the pillar of dictatorship in Iran.
Nonetheless, Jebhe Melli and some other liberal forces of the past, alongside forces like Jebhe Demokratic (IDF) and others, who originally were Islamists, and some of the old leftist and socialist forces, are some of the forces from Iran's past political groups who have come to terms with the new aspirations of Iranian people for a fully secular republic in Iran. Even some of the political forces that used to be monarchists have also recently come to terms with this aspiration of Iranian people, and have realized that the path of monarchy is a dead-end for Iran.
C. Why monarchy in Iran will always end up in despotism?
Although I have written on numerous occasions that a secular republic in Iran is *not* a guarantee of democracy, nonetheless, I have always emphasized that a monarchy for Iran *is* a guarantee for despotism, and the myth of democratic monarchy for Iran, by giving examples of Spain or England, can only deceive those who do not understand the Iranian monarchy.
For a while I thought Reza Pahlavi's main intention was human rights in Iran, and not the return of monarchy. This is why I hoped that he would distance himself from those wanting to bring back Shah's dictatorship, and would *abdicate* the throne, and announce the end of Iranian monarchy.
I even wrote a defense for his work on human rights, and in an open letter to him, I suggested that he be the first to call for a secular republic in Iran, and initiate a constitution conference for the future, to plan a democratic constitution to avoid another dictatorship, after the fall of Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI).
All my suggestions to Mr. Reza Pahlavi were based on the assumption that he would *abdicate* the throne, and when he did not abdicate, and actually added his reliance on those who want to bring back Shah's despotism, the initiative for forming the unity of Iranian movement passed Reza Pahlavi.
Around the time of July 9, 2003 (18-Tir anniversary), when there were numerous calls to him from Iranian political activists to abdicate, he just ignored them all, and this is how his dual role for the Iranian movement ended, and since then, he has been fading away in the Iranian political scene. It is noteworthy that in contrast, unity *for* a secular republic, and *not* unity of republican, is in progress, and it is having its own leaders.
Reza Pahlavi's talk of referendum proved to be a way to legitimize his quest for return of his family to the throne. He says people can choose his mythical democratic monarchy in that referendum, and he will abide by it. Well, if one was going to abide by a referendum, there was one held over 20 years ago, which overwhelmingly discarded the monarchy in Iran. And if he does not accept that result, why should he accept the result, if monarchy loses again, in another referendum! He can claim again the referendum not to be a legitimate one, and the saga can continue until the monarchy wins.
And if monarchy wins in these hypothetical referenda, would monarchy allow the people every few years, to make such a decision again by holding referenda? In other words, would the monarchy be willing to institutionalize it, that say every four years, people be given a right to decide if they want to keep the monarchy or change it to something else. If today we argue that those who made the decision in the previous referendum, did not have the right to decide for those who are now living in Iran, and are eligible to vote, then isn't it reasonable to expect to have such referenda about the system every few years?
I wrote to Reza Pahlavi in my open letter that if he sincerely believed in democracy and human rights, he should call the end of Iranian monarchy and be the first one to criticize Shah's regime for its violations of human rights, and to condemn Shah's using of Islamists, to offset the victory of the democratic forces of Iran, which is how IRI was created.
The truth of the matter is that these are all political games. If Reza Pahlavi really believed in being an ordinary Iranian citizen, he would have abdicated the throne a along time ago, to be in the same status as any other ordinary citizen, with the same political rights. People do not go to the poles to decide not to be allowed to elect anymore their leaders anymore.
If Reza Pahlavi be allowed to pass his political office by inheritance, thru this referendum, others can also get such privilege to do so, as it was during feudal times, and in Iran and elsewhere, when many state offices were also hereditary and not just the office of the king. And from the other direction, why his child should have the right to become a king but the children of others should not have such a right. What in this rule is equal opportunity of citizens, and selection by qualifications?
D. How the Myth of Democratic Monarchy is Blocking Real Unity of Iranians?
Basically Reza Pahlavi's myth of democratic monarchy has blocked the unity for a secular republic in Iran. This distraction has been the most important factor to distract Iranians from issues of the future to those of the past monarchy, impeding the progress of formation of the leadership for Iranian pro-democracy movement to remove IRI.
It is true that anyone is free to think and advocate what they believe, including Reza Pahlavi, who wants to advocate this myth. But at the same time anyone including me, has a right to show how this diversion is thwarting the change of regime to a democratic secular republic in Iran. Freedom of speech does not mean that only Reza Pahlavi can have the right to advocate his quest and others cannot. Moreover, my critic is not anything personal about him. My discussion is about political issues, that are pertinent to secularism and human rights for Iran's future.
The real nature of monarchy in Iran is not defined by what Reza Pahlavi says about "democratic monarchy", when he is living abroad, telling us the fairy tales of monarchy of Spain and Sweden. Even Ayatollah Khomeini when living abroad spoke of "democratic Islamism", but later in Iran said democracy is a Western concept and Islam is fundamentally opposed to it.
The reality of monarchy and Islamism in Iran, is independent of what the myth-makers promise. Iranian monarchy will not become a Swedish monarchy by nice talks and PR (public relations). In fact, for bad systems, the worst happens to people, when the system is sold, by the words of public relations of a sweet salesmen.
The leading monarchists of Iran, including Reza Pahlavi, in the last 22 years, have never blamed the fall of monarchy on the failure of that system of Savak dictatorship and corruptions. A system which considered opposing ideas as traitorous and called the opposition as subversives.
The monarchists blamed their failure on foreigners, leftists, democrats, and again and a gain blamed their failure on treason and collaboration of some of their generals with mollahs, etc., but never cared to blame the monarchy's Savak, dictatorship, and corruption for its demise.
If one compares the leading Iranian figures associated with the failed Iranian monarchy, with some leading Russian figures associated with the failed Soviet Union, e.g. Yeltsin, it is easy to see how the latter clearly blamed the dictatorial and corrupt communism for the failure and fall of the Soviet system, whereas the former blamed anything else, but despotic system of Iranian monarchy
Although Yeltsin was part of the central committee of Soviet Communism, he was the first to blow the whistle on its dictatorial and corrupt system. Iranian monarchists with a short phrase of "mistakes have happened" free themselves from talking about the past atrocities of monarchy in Iran and until they do as the x-Soviets did, all of Reza Pahlavi's talks of referendum are nothing, but a tactic to bring the same type of monarchy, back to power in Iran.
I think that anybody has a right to be a monarchist. Just like anybody has a right to be an Islamist, and advocate it, but anybody also has a right to be a critic of them and challenge monarchism and Islamism without the fear of being harassed by their henchmen, from Sha'boon Bimokh (a wellknown monarchist thug who now lives in L.A. and is treated as a celebrity by the monarchists) to Allah Karam (a wellknown IRI thug who worked with Sha'boon Bimokh during the Shah and now works for IRI.
I have to say what a catastrophe it would be if monarchy ever returns to Iran. The same way that the likes of Sepahbod Zahedi were followed by the likes of Ardeshir Zahedi, the progeny of them are keeping the line of succession in the ranks of Iranian monarchy today although not on the front.
E. Monarchy and Statism
Current fascinations with pre-Islamic Iran, and the beautiful Iranian cultural heritage, should not make us lose sight of the fact that Iran’s monarchy throughout the Persian history has been one of the main pillars of despotism in the Middle East.
The predominance of state ownership of water in the past, and state ownership of oil in modern times, is one reason for strength of state central power in Iran.
Even today with the pressure of the non-centralized forces of different Shia Ayatollahs, the Iranian state has not broken apart, something that quickly happened in Lebanon following the collapse of its previous regime. This shows the strength of state power in Iran. The state ownership makes the state in a way the main owner of the country.
It is more the state that pays the people, than people paying the state by taxes. The state remains the biggest landowner and the biggest capitalist in Iran
Although Reza Pahlavi has lived in the West for so long, he still has not settled the issue of his own succession when he has daughters and not sons.
One may wonder why Reza Pahlavi does not take the initiative to change the law of Iranian monarchy to allow women the right to succeed. The answer is very simple, he wants to keep the image of permanence of monarchy in people's mind, and any change can damage the eternalness of the monarchy state which is what they like to project.
Every time an Iranian dynasty changed, the suitor would act as the Naieb (deputy) of the former dynasty for some time. Nader Shah did that with regards to Safavids, and Reza Shah did it with regards to Qajars. Why? Because they do not want the mentality of change to enter the mind of their supporters who should think of it as timeless.
Thus, although changes have been pushed on Iranian monarchy, whether by Iranian people's movements or by the foreign powers, if left by themselves, Iranian kings would not wish any changes in the Iranian social psyche and prefer to project their dynasties with unchanging timelessness.
One may ask the reason of monarchy's emphasis on projecting timelessness? My answer is that Iran has had many powerful decentralizing forces in its make-up.
The most prominent one used to be the nomadic tribes (ashAyer), which are still a strong decentralizing element in Iran's social life. The other force is the enormous number of nationalities and religious minorities, including orders such as Sufis, Izadis, etc.
In modern times, political thought has also grown into a decentralizing element. I think with the exception of Turkey, Iran has had more types of political groups than all its neighbors. The leftists were hundred flavors, Muslim activists the same, nationalists the same, modernists (tajadood-garAs) the same way. Such strong decentralizing elements were controlled by the strength of a powerful central state depicting itself as an unchanging permanence.
Also in modern times, education, health, and social services have been primarily state-owned in countries like Iran, because they have been introduced from above.
As the world standards were being scaled up in these arenas, and following people's pressure from below, the main owner of the country, the state, became the deliverer for such services. In the case of education, being a *must* for industrial development, the state had no choice, but to make it happen, when Iran entered the partial industrial development, even before Reza Shah, at the time of Amir Kabir.
Monarchy gets its legitimacy from its historical roots of Persian Empires, where their "natural" way to deal with diversity was centralism, although the Persian Satraps of Ancient Persian Empire were more like federalism than centralism of French monarchy, centrist model which was followed by the modern monarchies of Iran. Central state power is how monarchy moves in the direction of despotism.
Even more than 20 years after the overthrow of the Pahlavi's, Reza Pahlavi does not even try to fool the opposition abroad, by taking a strong position against the acts of Savak. Why? Because Savak was the most suitable organization for despotism of Iranian Monarchy. The iron beds that were used by Shahpoor-e Zolaktaf of Sasanids were very similar to the torture tools of Savak. Reza Pahlavi knows that he is going to need those executioners if he comes to power, and thus his window-dressing in the democratic West is very limited.
One may argue that 70% of the above factors are also true for a republic, and my response is that yes that is true, and such a danger exists, and this is why I am very doubtful of using Keynesian economics to design Iran's economic plans, although for a country like Spain, with its European surroundings, and background, I would not be as worried.
This is why a republic by itself does not guarantee democracy in Iran, and the specifics of the future constitution, and the vigilance of political parties to practice them, are very critical factors in establishing a real democracy in Iran.
The main threat of falling back to monarchy is not just from the monarchists. Even dynastical republics like Azerbaijan and Syria are a danger to be avoided in the new Iranian constitution. Any sincere monarchist of the past, who claims to care for secularism, human rights and democracy in Iran, as his/her first step, should repudiate any monarchy platform for the future of Iran.
F. Monarchy and Secularism
As far as the issue of secularism, the dilemma of monarchists is not just the fact that 1906 Constitution, which monarchists support, assumes the Shi'a religion as the official religion of Iran, and accepts the veto of 5 mojteheds (grand Shi'a ayatollahs), as the final say on all laws of the land.
The monarchists' distance from full secularism is basically due to the erroneous assessment they have of the fall of Shah's regime.
The monarchists think that Iran had progressed too fast during the Shah, and they think that had been the reason for Shah's fall, and they are taking a step backward in their current plans for Iran's future, especially with regards to the Western values such as secularism, and this is why they try so hard to give concessions to Shi'a ayatollahs and to show their following of Shi'a occasions all around the year.
In short, monarchy is the worst poison to advocate for Iran because it fails to bring about full secularism after the sacrifices people have given to fight the Islamist state all these 24 years.
Iran’s monarchy will never be a Sweden and monarchy is the gateway to open tyranny compromising secularism to block the democratic forces, because monarchy fears real democratic forces and shares this fear with the Islamists who prefer to block the advancement of secularism.
I have explained the issue of secularism in Iran, in another article, and do not need to get into more details here.
G. Monarchy and Human Rights
If Reza Pahlavi was honest about his dedication to human rights and democracy, he would have fully condemn the atrocities under the Shah. Once he spoke good of Dr. Mossadegh about 10 years ago, and some of his associates reminded him not to do that again, and today, when even the Islamic Republic, is disregarding Khomeini's vicious attacks on Mossadegh, and pays respects to Mossadegh’s tomb, Reza Pahlavi is way behind IRI in this charade, because of the limitations of the position of Iranian monarchy in dealing with its atrocities of the past.
Reza Pahlavi should have called the end of the system of monarchy for Iran, which is nothing but the prospect for another era of dictatorship. He should have participated in formulation of a constitution for a democratic republic, to work with others to make sure all the necessary checks and balances are predicted in the future constitution, and in doing so, I am sure the dictatorial forces would have flown away from his surrounding, and some of them would have looked for another king.
This is how a real unity of Iranians based on the possibilities of the future, and not "glory" of the past, with a real focus on human rights, could have been formed, and not using human rights slogans, to return the despotic monarchy. The unity of Iranians around Islamism or Monarchism belongs to the pre-industrial past of Iran, and ever since mashrootiat (1906 Constitutional Movement), the advanced forces of Iran, have called for the unity of Iranians around democracy, civil society, and law and other possibilities of the future, and not the glory of the past Persianism or Shiism.
Just saying unity, is not much different from what Khomeini advocated, who talked of unity to use the other forces to remove the regime, without clearly stating *what* regime was planned to replace the removed regime! And a referendum to legitimize monarchy by emotional voting after fall of IRI, is not an alternative, just as it was not in 1979!
The goal is *not* to unite the Iranian *opposition*. The goal is to *unite* Iranian *people* and any unity with the Monarchists, reduces the chances for uniting the Iranian people, who see the reality of Iranian monarchy to be a powerful anti-human rights system. The majority of *Iranians*, and not the *British* or *Swedish* or *Spanish* people, want a secular republic with respects for human rights. Iranians are not looking for a Juan Carlos.
Iranians do not want to pay for a figure-head. We want *accountable* positions, and are tired of the figure head games which Khatami and Khamaene'i have played, when questioned on human rights violations, and they have played the game better than all constitutional monarchies, which for better or worse, we never had under the Pahlavis.
Reza Pahlavi could have pulled up his sleeves and started democratic organizations in the US, where he lives, to show if he is capable of creating any democratic organization, before Iranian people would trust him as an ordinary citizen for a *democratic* leadership of the whole Iran. Abdicating the throne would have shown if he had the confidence to do it on his own. But he decided to keep his position as a future king and just talk of human rights and referendum to legitimize his bid for the return of the monarchy.
H. Reza Pahlavi and the U.S.
True that nobody stops those royalists in France, to call themselves constitutional monarchists 200 years after the fall of monarchy, and the two constitutional monarch candidates of Iraq, can dream on as long as they want, but if US and UK try to push such a so-called constitutional monarchy on Iranian people, they will only get back the hate of Iranians, the hate Iranians had for US and UK all during the Shah's time.
Iranian pro-Democracy activists do not want to become the launch pad for Pahlavi Dynasty to get back to the throne, and then Pahlavis' only loyalty again to be to their foreign masters, who bring them back to power, and to the Savakis who kill and murder for the monarchy, and have never had any respect for human rights.
The Iranian people and freedom-fighters who have been killed by IRI all these years, for speaking up for democracy and human rights in Iran, will then become the morgheh aza va aroosi (chicken of both funeral and wedding), and will go back to Evin prison, and the first to kill them will be the Savakis of the Pahlavi monarchy, who are even making threats to pro-Democracy activists abroad right now, in meetings and forums, before they have even returned to power again.
Reza Pahlavi all these years avoided to create an organization abroad, because if it turned out to be a dictatorial organization, it would be written on his record. But how does he want the people to trust him with the organization of the whole country of Iran, when the only record of Pahlavi's organization is that of Reza Shah and Mohammad Reza Shah, which was a complete despotic political organization of the country.
We do not want a constitutional monarch. Even as late as April 1977, there was a chance for the Shah to become a constitutional monarch, when in his speech, he said "people I have heard your voice". But a few months later, he ordered a military government and shot the demonstrators on the street. People go for moderating a monarchy when it exists, not twenty four years after its fall. It is time to ask the United State government to announce in no uncertain terms that U.S. forces are not going to be the launch pad for Reza Pahlavi to come back to power in Iran.
RP has stopped even responding to Iranian democratic forces, that have repeatedly asked him to hear us, that we do *not* want the return of monarchy, and until he *abdicates* the throne, he has no right to speak on behalf of Iranian people whose human rights have been violated by both the monarchy and IRI.
Reza Pahlavi does not respond to the Iranian intellectuals, the same way Shah always ignored to hear our voice, and finally the people had to come out with their feet to the streets, to say that they do not want his system.
Is Reza Pahlavi hoping for the U.S. help like the Shah, and then when failing, is he going to blame the U.S. again, rather than himself, for not responding to the call of Iranian intellectuals, before the situation gets more critical? Is he thinking the U.S. press and officials are going to make the change in Iran, or he believes in the Iranians, and if the latter then why doesn't he spend his time to answer to Iranians who have repeatedly asked him to abdicate the throne?
Many factions of monarchists have already left the monarchy platform, and have called for conservative republican political parties based on free market economy, but Reza Pahlavi is listening more and more to dictatorial shahollAhis, who are the reason why Iran is where it is today.
Pahlavi Dynasty is not a theoretical academic issue for Iranians. It is a symbol of despotism. Even today, the whole complain of Iranian people about IRI has been the fact that VF (Valie-Faghih) and GC (Guardian Council) under IRI act like offices of monarchy, and people even call the VF Khamene'i as the new Shah, to show their dissatisfaction with IRI.
This is what the connotation of monarchy and Shah is in Persian. In other words, the word new Shah people use for Khamene'i, is to show their hate for the unelected VF position, then how could people want the return of monarchy, when their main opposition to IRI is the partial monarchy of VF position of Khamene'i.
Therefore to any honest observer of Iran, it is obvious that Iranian people do not want the return of monarchy. How can this obvious fact be hidden from the eyes of U.S. experts. Reza Pahlavi is after his vested interest of returning Pahlavi monarchy to the throne, with the U.S. help, and he tries to use a formula of referendum for republic vs monarchy to deceive people, and this fact has actually turned off the people from even supporting the referendum slogan.
Shah's former Savaki beneficiaries are writing their dreams of return of monarchy for Iran, and a few U.S. officials may still believe them, but the reality is that such dreams are nothing but nightmare for the Iranian people, and the fear of people from any such eventualities has helped IRI to stay in power all these years.
I. Reza Pahlavi's Dual Role Tactic Not Working Anymore
Ever since Reza Pahlavi chose a new tactic of a dual role of calling himself a private citizen, while not abdicating as the inheritor of Iran's Pahlavi throne, he created a confusion for both republicans and monarchists, but at the same time he created a unique role for himself in the Iranian opposition movement by choosing this new tactic.
Reza Pahlavi, before using the new tactic, was not of any significance in the pro-democracy movement of Iran.. He started speaking about human rights abuses in Iran, and about serving Iran's pro-Democracy movement, and abiding by people's decision in a referendum regardless of whether Iranians choose a republic or a monarchy. Nonetheless he still kept his title to the throne.
The reason the movement finally stopped to respond to Reza Pahlavi's dual role, was when on the anniversary of 18-Tir around July 9, 2003; numerous organizations and leading figures of Iran's opposition asked RP to abdicate, if he was sincere in calling himself a private citizen, and Reza Pahlavi ignored all their calls, and took the high ground of repeating the etehAd (unity) slogan without even responding to the critics.
Let me also note that many of the so-called Iranian monarchists are really neither monarchist nor political, and are basically former technocrats, the same way many Iranian singers abroad are artists of Shah's time and are erroneously referred to as monarchists, and they >have more in common with the secular republican opposition, than with the dictatorial forces of Reza Pahlavi's *in* circle, the ones who want to bring back Mohammad Reza Shah's despotic regime.
These technocrats were *not* political intellectuals, albeit the pro-Shah ones, but were and *are* simply the technocrats of the time of the Shah, who shared only the economic and technical aspirations of the Shah's time, and at best tolerated the repressive political system of Shah's monarchy, including its Savak. They were technocrats who were thrown out of the system with Shah's regime falling apart and in fact, they share with the political intellectuals of Iran, the desire for a modern system in Iran.
In other words, as far as Iranian *political* intellectuals are concerned, they have all been republican all these years, although some being futurist, democrat, secular, liberal, socialist, religious, or other shades of the political spectrum. Except for a very small handful of Savak functionaries, there are no one political intellectuals asking for *return* of the monarchy.
Return of monarchy, calling it constitutional party or RP party, *means* nothing but return of *past* monarchy, because *past* monarchy is the *only* platform for monarchy. We do not know of any individual or group or family striving for start of a *new* monarchy in Iran.
To summarize, what made Reza Pahlavi special, is what he did for over five years, when approaching the movement not as the next king, but sitting between two seats as a king and a private citizen. This new strategy helped him to ascend in the opposition's leadership role and it is ironic that those who were responsible for this successful strategy, seems like are no longer in his *in* circle.
In the previous years prior to the dual role, just calling himself the next king, Reza Pahlavi failed to gain any status in the Iranian opposition. Reza Pahlavi's dual role ended in July 2003, when he did not respond to the calls of main political activists of Iran to abdicate, if he was sincere in calling himself an ordinary citizen. Reza Pahlavi, instead of abdicating, reinforced the shahollAhis in his *in* circle. He is now back to those days of his single role and is rapidly fading from the leadership of Iranian pro-democracy movement.
J. Unity for a Secular Republic Not Unity of Republicans
In sum, as shown above, it is a proven fact that Iranian monarchy will *not* be democratic and the myth of democratic monarchy is just used to return the despotic monarchy.
The reason I call for a secular republic in Iran is not because of having any illusion of thinking such a republic would guarantee democracy in Iran. On the contrary, anyone knowing Turkey and similar dictatorial secular republics can witness that such an illusion is very far from the truth.
In other words, with the monarchy, we will surely have despotism but with a secular republic, we may end up in a democracy or in despotism, depending on how we handle the constitution and the practice of implementing it.
This is why I emphasize that people should make sure that our secular republic does not end up in a dictatorship and thus the need for a thorough work on the constitution of future secular republic of Iran, to create a democratic blue print to strive for, as well as cultural and social work to maintain democracy in Iran.
The above is the reason why I *oppose* the programs of unity of republicans of Iran, which is *not* the same as unity for a secular republic, because many of the current republicans of Iran, are neither for democracy nor for secularism.
In contrast many of those ranked as so-called monarchist, are now forming new republican groups, with free market economy and secularism in their platforms, and they are the ones who will be the real allies for in the unity for a secular republic and not many of the mellimazhabis, who are not even thorough republicans and are busy making deals with the Iranian monarchists. Deals that are compromising secularism in the post-IRI regime.
K. Dissolve Monarchy and MKO to End IRI
It has been 25 years that Iranian pro-democracy movement is fighting the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), a regime that unlike Shah's regime, has no international support, nor does it have powerful programs and capable cadres to rule Iran. The main reason for the failure of the movement is because the opposition has become synonymous with two anti-democracy forces, and those two forces are Reza Pahlavi's monarchy and the mojahedin khalgh organization (MKO).
Every time the Iranian people were able to overthrow IRI, because of the fear of possibility of these two forces coming to power, they hesitated to take the last step to end IRI, and this way IRI has stayed in power for 25 years.
If with the help of the U.S., monarchy or MKO come to power in Iran, the next day, the people will go to the streets chanting down with that regime. The problem is not the uniting of political groups with monarchists and MKO, our issue is that unity with these two forces, will block the unity of Iranian people, who hate these two forces as much as they hate the Islamic Republic.
Iranian pro-democracy movement does not need Reza Pahlavi, to tell us about human rights and the dictatorship of IRI. We have fought Pahlavi dictatorship for over half a century, a regime that Reza Pahlavi wants to restore for us. Consequently, why should the people make the same mistake as in 1979, and to bring a force to power that has been the executioner of our pro-democracy movement.
On the other side, MKO wants to bring its own version of Islamism to power in Iran, and doing it 25 years after the imposition of another version of Islamism by IRI. Why should we want to bring to power the Islamism of MKO, that had fought alongside our enemy Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War, and has been as bad as IRI with respect to its human rights records.
Monarchy and MKO, even before coming to power, are mafia type organizations, where they send their agents, like Sha'boon Bimokh, and attack the pro-democracy forces with dirty words, while their leaders Reza Pahlavi and Mariam Rajavi, talk nice and pretty in TV interviews, the same way hezbollAhis attack intellectuals, and Ayatollah Khamene'i claims not to know about it, smiling pretty in TV interviews.
Reza Pahlavi is Iran's Ahmed Chalabi who wants to use the U.S. to get to power, and MKO is the Khmer Rouge of Iran, but an Islamist version of it, and Iranian people are very aware about it, and do not want to allow these two forces to get a chance to come to power in Iran.
The best Reza Pahlavi can do is to announce the dissolution of monarchy in Iran, and the best Rajavis can do is to dissolve mojahedin organization (MKO), because these two forces are the main obstacles in front of the success of Iran's pro-democracy movement to end IRI and to form a secular republic in Iran.
Many of those who have joined these two forces, have done so in order to end IRI, and to form democracy in Iran, and the dissolution of these two groups will help to free the honest people in their ranks, to join the pro-democracy movement, instead of wasting the time of themselves and others with the Myth of Democratic Monarchy , and instead of wasting their energy in the activities of MKO against the Iranian pro-democracy movement.
In Oct and Nov 2002, Iranian students movement gained momentum, but the moment the Los Angeles monarchist TV's tried to connect that movement to Reza Shah's 17-Dey anniversary, the movement stopped. This showed the level of awareness of leaders of Iran's pro-democracy movement, because the people hate monarchy and MKO, as much as they hate IRI.
Before July 9th (18-Tir) last year, a similar event happened, when the forces of Iran's pro-democracy movement, clearly and in no uncertain terms, asked Reza Pahlavi to abdicate from the throne, and he evaded their calls, and continued his game of dual role of private citizen and future king, and the movement left him behind. It is now obvious that his dual role is to deceive the people to restore monarchy in Iran.
Iranian people do not want monarchy. All the complaints of Iranian people during Khatami and the Sixth Parliament of IRI revolved around the issue of VF (Valie Faghih) and GC (Guardian Council) which are like monarchy institutions in the IRI law, and are not elected offices. People in their demonstrations, even express their resentment of Ayatollah Khamene'i, by calling him the new Shah, then how can they want restoration of monarchy, when the opposition of people to Khamene'i, and Khomeini before him, was exactly because of VF having a role similar to a king in the Constitution of Islamic Republic.
To any impartial analyst of Iran, it is clear that Iranian people do not want monarchy, and thus how could this obvious reality be hidden from the eyes of Reza Pahlavi, except that he is after the interests of the Pahlavi throne, so that with the help of the U.S., and using his formula of referendum, defining it as a choice between republic and monarchy, in the agitated environment of fall of IRI, to reach his goal of return of Pahlavi monarchy.
It is exactly this dreadful prospect that has made the Iranian people to hesitate to fully support the plan of referendum, and also this is the reason why Reza Pahlavi spends his time to talk to the foreign press and officials, rather than to talk to Iranian intellectuals, because he knows monarchy is finished for the Iranian people, and wants to restore it and come to power by the foreign forces.
Nonetheless, times have long passed, since the days that Iranians did not have secular republican organizations, and monarchy and MKO could show themselves as the representatives of the people. One good thing that happened during all these years of Khatami, is the fact that new secular organizations were formed in the last 8 years, organizations that have the trust of people. The republican secular organizations today, are more organized, than all the years of 1953-1979 of Shah's time.
In contrast, the monarchists are some of the old functionaries of Shah's time abroad, who are hated by the pro-democracy activists, because they are symbols of repression of human rights during the Shah, and those from the past movement, who are serving the monarchists today, are making a big mistake, to promote the "all-together" slogan of Khomeini today, this time from Reza Pahlavi, when the functionaries of the past regime, are trying to use them to come back to power, the same way that Khomeini used them by his "all-together" slogan.
As far as MKO, even raising the posters of Shariati in the students' demonstrations of Oct and Nov 2002, damaged the popular support for the students. Shariati is a reminder of IRI and MKO, and the people resent Islamism whether by IRI, MKO, or others, and they want full secularism.
Iranian people have said it time and again that they do not want Khatami, because he does not want a *secular* republic for Iran, then how could they want an Islamic government of mojahedin which is another form of Islamism, and even knowing about the violations of human rights by them against former members, and their cooperation with Saddam during the Iran-Iraq War.
If the U.S. helps IRI, monarchy, or MKO in Iran, the hope of Iranian people in seeing the U.S. as the ally of Iranian pro-democracy movement, will be diminished. Just think if the U.S. tried to support the royalists of France, to come to power by U.S. military assistance, because of its conflicts with the current French government, then the French people would hate the U.S. forever for doing that.
Iranians just like Americans, want to vote for president in a *secular* republic. When secular republic is so important for Americans themselves, why some U.S. officials prescribe monarchy for Iran. I hope the U.S. to tell Reza Pahlavi in clear and no uncertain terms, that the U.S. will not help the coming to power of monarchy in Iran, and if he wants to join the pro-democracy movement of Iran, he should announce the complete annulment and dissolution of Iranian monarchy.
The same way, if any member of mojahedin wants to join Iranian pro-democracy movement, they should dissolve MKO or leave MKO, and either form democratic organizations, or join the existing pro-democracy organizations.
References Chapter 11
P.S. For more explanation about referendum, please see One Mistake-From Constitutional Movement to Today, and New Constitution-Referendum of Progress and Petrifaction.