THE HOYA

Tuesday, February 1st, 2000

Shah of Iran To Visit Georgetown

Cyrus Reza II Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, will be answering questions about his life, likely changes in Iran and his efforts to promote a better understanding of historic Iranian culture in the West, tonight, at 7:30 p.m. in ICC Auditorium. The event, sponsored by the Delta Phi Epsilon Foreign Service Fraternity, is free, however Georgetown identification is required for admission.

According to a Delta Phi Epsilon press release, Pahlavi became "de jure" Shah in 1980, and he and his family have been living in exile since the Ayotollah Khomeini's 1979 Revolution.

Pahlavi has been active in the Mihan Foundation, a non-profit educational and research organization that aims to inform the international community about Iran's contribution to civilization and build bridges of communication and fellowship among Iranians both at home and abroad.

While in the United States as a teenager, Pahlavi, a pilot, attended an orientation program at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. His instructor was a Georgetown alumni, George Reasonover (SFS '71), who has remained a close friend to the Shah and his family. Reasonover, also a member of the fraternity, invited Pahlavi to Georgetown.

Pahlavi lives in Potomac, Md., with his Iranian-born wife Yasmine, and two American-born daughters, Noor and Iman. Yasmine is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and a member of the Maryland Bar Association.

- Andreas Andrea

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THE GEORGETOWN VOICE

Thursday, February 3rd, 2000

Exiled shah discusses future of Iran
Women's rights, democratic government top his list of needed reforms

Cyrus Reza II Pahlavi, the exiled Shah of Iran, spoke in a crowded ICC
Auditorium to offer his own views on the future of his home country.

by Joe McFadden

The exiled Shah of Iran spoke to students on his ideas for sweeping political reform in his home country, Tuesday. He called for free elections, equal rights for women and a reevaluation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Cyrus Reza II Pahlavi was the crown prince of Iran when his father, the former Shah, was forced into exile by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. After his father's death several months later, Pahlavi became the Shah in exile.

The current government, run by Khomeini's successor Ayatollah Khamenei is a theocratic system with the supreme religious ruler at its head.

Pahlavi said that he had little hope for his country unless a basic restructuring of the government was attained. "The nature of the current regime is fundamentally rigid and thus it cannot change," he said. If things continue as they are, he said, civil war in Iran is an eventual possibility.

"The leaders have taken God as an alibi to cover for their ineptitude and mistakes," Pahlavi said.

According to the Shah, the Iranian constitution allows the supreme religious ruler to void any law he deems in opposition to Islam. This effectively gives Ayatollah Khamenei veto power over any law in the country. Pehlavi said that Khamenei has called his own authority indisputable and said "majority rule is subject to the rule of God. The person in charge of the Islamic government does not make mistakes."

In addition to veto power, Pahlavi said that Khamenei has direct control over - the army, the media and the government. Because of this, Pahlavi said, "No matter how you look at it, our country's problems~ aren't being dealt with."

Last year, Mohammed Khatami was elected Iran's president. Pahlavi said that Americans have a mistaken impression of Khatami as a liberal reformer. He claims, however, that since Khatami was elected/ last year, at least seven public stonings and 260 public executions have taken place.

Pahlavi also said that women's rights have suffered in the last year. Kharnenei forced the passage of laws segregating medical facilities by sex and outlawing women on the cover of magazines.

He said that tne conditions for women are so poor that "airports have separate entrances where [women] are searched for lipsticks and other weapons of mass destruction." He said that a woman was recently arrested for "laughter of a giggling kind."

The Islamic government in Iran, "remains the greatest block to peace in the Middle East," Pahlavi said.

"The leaders don't have Iran's interests in mind, only their own, and they will hold on as long as they can," he said. "The solution for Iran and Iranians lies beyond this regime."

The Shah said he was most concerned with the youngest generation in Iran. More than 70 percent of Iranians are under 30. He called on the students to look for non-violent change. Free referendums and elections are the key to deposing the current regime, Pahlavi said.

"We must equip [Iranians] with the best weapons they can use," he said, "knowledge, access, communication."

"It is not through bloodshed, but through wisdom that our community will be built."

After his speech, Pahlavi answered questions on his role in Iran's future.

He said he was not personally motivated to change the current regime and did not expect to return to Iran as its leader. "A constitutional monarchy is only a potential outcome," he said, the ultimate choice would be left in the hands of the Iranian people.

Iran became a constitutional monarchy in 1906 and remained one until 1979. Pahlavi said he did not wish to advocate any specific form of democratic government, but rather to put the Iranian people in a position to choose for themselves.

"I'm not at issue," he said. "I'm not important. The important thing is choice."

Although he is working to remove an Islamic theocracy, Pahlavi said traditional Islamic values have a major place in Iran. "The essence of our argument is that when you deal with a theocracy as opposed to a separation of church and state you devalue the religion itself."

He said a theocracy makes the religion answerable for every action and vulnerable to mistakes, "our problem is not with religion, it is the theocracy. Religion has its place."

Pahlavi also said that U.S. sanctions should be reevaluated. "Sanctions for the sake of sanctions does not make sense," he said. "In Iran, the sanctions are ultimately hurting the people and not the regime."

After the United States and several European countries intervened in Iran's war with Iraq, Pahlavi said that the U.S. sought a way to contain Iran. More sanctions were imposed. Pahlavi said that the U.S. needs to take a strong role in encouraging reforms in Iran. "Because of the U.S.'s leadership role, other countries are looking to Washington on this one," he said.

He said the current regime has taken numerous steps backwards in - dealing with human rights. Before his father's exile, "Iranian society had no problem dealing with feminist and women's issues in Iran," he said but after Ayotallah Khomeini took power he executed the minister of education, a female member of the cabinet.

"A woman needs to feel she has every right and equality under the law," Pahlavi said, "but also feel free from intimidation."

He compared Iran to a marathon runner running on one leg; women are not allowed to be productive members of society. "A country needs both legs to run," he said.

According to Pahlavi, many women were the first and strongest speakers against the theocracy. "For that issue, they deserve all their rights," he said. "I will fight for that to the end."

The Shah's speech was sponsored by Delta Phi Epsilon, the foreign service fraternity.

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THE HOYA

Tuesday, February 4th, 2000

Son of Deposed Shah of Iran
Criticizes Islamic Republic
Cyrus Reza Pahlavi II spoke on Tuesday night in ICC

By Tim Sullivan
Hoya Staff Writer

Cyrus Reza Pahlavi II, son of deposed Iranian leader Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, criticized the Iranian theocracy and espoused democratic reforms in Iran in a speech Tuesday night in the ICC Auditorium.

Pahlavi, exiled since Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979, accused the Islamic Republic of Iran of enforcing "medieval mentalities through obscure laws," through its theocratic regime. According to Pahlavi, Iran is desperately in need of democratic reforms. "[The regime] has taken God as an alibi for their ineptitude and mishaps," he said.

Sponsored by Delta Phi Epsilon and the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Pahlavi's 35-minute speech also stressed a desire to rescue Iran from the Islamic Republic. "We will never consent to the decay of our motherland and we will always proudly call ourselves Iranians," he said, referring to what he described as the damaged reputation Iran has received in the wake of the abuses of the theocratic regime.

He said that his efforts to promote reform in Iran are not motivated by any desire on his part to reassume the throne, but rather "a patriotic duty to my countrymen."

The reigning regime is incapable of change, he said, because the constitution of the Republic establishes Islamic law as supreme. "A majority vote in Iran is subordinate to God's will," Pahlavi said. "Our country's problems are not being solved."

Pahlavi, 39, questioned the legitimacy of Iranian president Mohammed Khatami's regime, saying "Chief Theologian" Ayatollah Ali Khamemei, an Iranian religious leader, holds a grip on power. "If you think that the president is in power, think again," he said. Pahlavi asked a filled ICC Auditorium to imagine a Christian theocracy in America. If the American theocracy were to follow the pattern of promoting the radical religious elements in the country to leadership position, he said, "Jim Jones would be the chief theologian and David Koresh would be his president."

He decried U.S. foreign policy in regards to Iran, particularly American insistence on searching for moderates within the ruling regime and imposing economic sanctions. Rather, he said, America should arm Iranian youth opposition movements "with the best weapons possible: knowledge, access and dialogue." Pahlavi said that for the Islamic regime to institute reforms at this late stage of the game "is like a last second Hail Mary pass." He said that the ultimate goal of reform must be to overturn the Muslim fundamentalist regime, likening the situation to the reforms initiated by Mikhail Gorbachev in the former Soviet Union, which did not fully come to fruition until Gorbachev himself relinquished power.

He also criticized the American government's embrace of current Iranian President Khatami because of his limited reforms, which the U.S. sees as a step towards the end of the regime, he said. "Let there be no mistake Khatami is there to extend the Islamic Republic, not to end it."

He also discussed his efforts to aid democratic reform in Iran since he fled the country in 1979 with his father, the ruling Shah of Iran, who was deposed and replaced by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. In 1979, when the shah was deposed and replaced by Khomeini, a militant, anti-Western regime rose to power in Tehran. The new regime sanctioned the capture of approximately 70 U.S. hostages from the American embassy in Tehran.

Pahlavi established the Mihan Foundation, an organization he said is dedicated to restoring the reputation of the Iranian people by making it known that the tyrannical actions of the Iranian government are not emblematic of the spirit of its people.

According to Rafael Nemat-Nejat (COL '03), an Iranian-American student, Pahlavi is an important figure to Iranians in America. "He represents a period of wealth and prosperity for Iran and also a symbol of hope for the future," said Nemat-Nejat, who met with Pahlavi after the speech. "I thought he was amazing."

Educated at Williams College and the recipient of a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Southern California, Pahlavi served as the crown prince of Iran prior to the revolution of 1979.

 

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