“I think the climate that we see in Iran today is not dissimilar to a few months of the regime back then,” former crown prince Reza Cyrus Pahlavi, who lives in exile in suburban Washington, told CNN.[photo]
Pahlavi appealed to Western leaders, particularly President Barack Obama, to “show solidarity” with Iranians, likening their plight to that of Eastern Europeans during the Soviet era.
“I think any other signal other than this will be a slap in the face of the nation,” Pahlavi said.
Pahlavi appealed for a strong position by President Barack Obama, who has called for reconciliation with Iran after three decades of hostility.
“I would like to take this opportunity and tell the president this is a crucial moment — on behalf of my compatriots and millions who have been turning to the outside world, particularly to this president — to say, don’t let us down.”
Pahlavi’s father, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, fled Iran in January 1979 as more than a year of protests had spiraled into a paralyzing nationwide movement.
The shah, who died in Cairo a year later, had been a close ally of the United States. His domestic agenda included improving the role of women and weakening the power of the clergy.
His son — who has previously stated he is not insisting on the restoration of the monarchy — said he wanted to help the protesters.
“I would love to help them reach complete, real freedom under a secular democratic system where there’s a true separation of religion from government,” he said.
Iran’s election authorities last week declared hardline incumbent Ahmadinejad the victor just hours after polls closed Friday, infuriating supporters of moderate former premier Mir Hossein Mousavi.