6 Jan. 18
A very busy, hot and sunny saturday evening - numerous hen party groups, tour parties, england's barmy army (conspicuous by their silence) - and then, against the developers hoarding in Cockle Bay: a line of peaceful protestors. I hadn't been aware of the Iranian National Council (gleaned from one of the banners - what I call: reading the city), so it was interesting to find out more.
The founder, president and spokesman for the INC is Reza Pahlavi. Reza is the son of the former Shah - memorably deposed in 1979.
'_Reza Pahlavi’s life was split in two at the age of 17: he was a trainee fighter pilot at a U.S. air base in Texas when his father was swept from the throne of Iran on a wave of public anger.
Now 52, ... lives in suburban Washington with his family, travelling frequently to Europe and outwardly at ease with a cosmopolitan life style. But ... he is an exile who has never left Iran.
“Iran has been my daily life,” he says. “It’s all I have after 33 years. If I were to step off the plane right now in Tehran my chances of survival are next to zero. But the moment I could return I’d be on the first flight.”_'*
I wonder how many Iranian people regard him as the valid 'democratic' opposition?
'_The West’s focus on Iran’s nuclear program alone misses the point, Pahlavi insists. It is only a symptom of a regime that is deeply opposed to democracy and human rights, and so will continue to be a danger.
The only solution, he says, is for other countries to forge ties with the opposition, and eventually to recognize the Iranian National Council as the legitimate voice of Iran. A step that at the moment appears distant, if not unlikely._'*