Reza Pahlavi, the Crown Prince of Iran who is in exile in the United States, told Ynet on the occasion of his country’s celebration of 40 years since his father, the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was overthrown, that he envisions a future democratic Iran that would once again maintain a friendship with Israel.
Pahlavi, 59, is the older son of the late Shah and his third wife Farah Diba. He is the current head of the exiled House of Pahlavi. He is also the founder and former leader of the National Council of Iran, an exiled opposition group, and a prominent critic of Iran’s Islamic Republic.
“In principle, we will seek relations with all friendly countries, on the basis of mutual respect, in contrast to the current regime, which has been waging wars since coming to power,” Pahlavi told Ynet.
Regarding his father’s regime of tyranny and repression, the heir apparent said that “the citizens of Iran have awakened to recognize the false truths and lies the current regime has tried to fed them through brainwashing,” claiming “This has caused a counter-reaction, and today the young people are determined to discover the truth about the past. All you have to do is follow the social networks: people’s cheers, the slogans they write, the cries of support for my father in the soccer stadiums. Anyone who wants to look and listen will find that the writing is on the wall.”
The reasons for the overthrow of Mohammad Reza included his being a dictator who was installed by the US, and reports of oppression, brutality, corruption, and extravagance. Still, Hussein-Ali Montazeri, who was once the designated successor to Ayatollah Khomeini, said that the Shah did not kill even 10% of what Khomeini’s did.
Over the past decade, the Shah’s reputation has gone through a revival in Iran, with many saying Iran was more prosperous under his rule, and the government less oppressive. Journalist Afshin Molavi reported that some members of the uneducated poor, who used to be the core supporters of the Islamic revolution, are now saying things like, “God bless the Shah’s soul, the economy was better then.” According to Molavi, “books about the former Shah (even censored ones) sell briskly,” while “books of the Rightly Guided Path sit idle.”
On October 28, 2016, thousands of Iranians who celebrated Cyrus Day at the Tomb of Cyrus, chanted slogans in praise of the late Shah and against the Islamic regime and Arabs. Many were arrested.