Iran’s Crown Prince has urged the UK to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as arguing that this is able to be akin to “pulling out the most important tooth the regime has”.
Reza Pahlavi – who is understood to his most devoted followers His Imperial Majesty the Shah – has been dwelling in exile since his father was deposed in 1979.
The prince, who’s the son and inheritor to the final Shah of Iran, has spent nearly half a century campaigning for a secular and democratic Iran and remains an important figurehead for the 4 million robust Iranian diaspora.
Chatting with The Sunday Telegraph throughout a quick journey to London, he stated that with regards to proscribing the IRGC, the West is being sluggish to behave as a result of it underestimates the importance of such a transfer.
He believes the hesitancy of the UK and different European powers to formally designate the IRGC as a terrorist organisation is maybe as a result of they’re “but to grasp” the impression it will have domestically in Iran.
Proscribing the IRGC would imply “extra strain in paralysing the regime that’s relying on this instrument of coercion at house and overseas to do the sinister deeds whether or not it’s Syria or Lebanon, or in Iran itself,” the prince stated.
However he added that it will even have the essential impact of accelerating the possibility of defection from inside its personal ranks – and as such, assist to carry concerning the collapse of the Islamic Republic which he believes is now solely a matter of time.
‘It can ship a powerful message to regime’
“It can ship a powerful message to the regime however on the identical time to those that are nonetheless a part of that organisation to say, perhaps it is time for us to bail out. As a result of so long as we’re stigmatised by being related to it, our destiny is sealed,” the prince stated.
“In different phrases, you are pulling the most important tooth that the regime has out, you are weakening it. And weakening the regime has a direct diametric impact of strengthening the individuals.
“You merely are paralysing them as a lot as you possibly can, limiting their capabilities whereas sending a really robust message to the nation and to the regime that we’re not going to take this any longer.”
His intervention on the IRGC comes amid a major row in Whitehall over proscribing the group.
Proscription would make it a legal offence to belong to the IRGC, attend its conferences, carry its brand in public or encourage help of its actions.
The IRGC was based as an ideological custodian of Iran’s 1979 revolution however has since morphed into a serious navy, political and financial pressure within the nation.
The drive to proscribe the group, first revealed by The Telegraph, has been held up by a battle in Whitehall concerning the knowledge of taking the strategy.
House Workplace officers have been building the case against the IRGC, with the safety companies understood to have shared intelligence.
However it’s understood that discussions about proscribing the organisation stalled after James Cleverly, the Overseas Secretary, raised issues that urgent forward with the measure may hurt British pursuits.
‘Dying to the dictator’
The prince has spent the previous week on a whistle cease tour of European cities together with Munich, Paris and Brussels in addition to London. He has been assembly with officers and politicians to debate the scenario in Iran, and to drum up help for regime change in Iran.
He believes that now – for the primary time for the reason that Iranian revolution – all the required situations are in place for the Islamic Republic to fall. “I feel the alignment of stars is now there. The chance is correct in entrance of us,” he says.
Not solely have the “reformists of yesteryear” from inside Iran now come round to the thought of whole regime change, however the West has additionally warmed to the thought, he explains.
“Solely a yr in the past, they have been nonetheless within the mindset of perhaps we should always nonetheless press for reforming the regime,” he stated, referring to the regime’s home critics. “The identical particular person now says, ‘it isn’t going to work’. It’s an vital paradigm shift of considering internally.
“A complete nation now calls ‘loss of life to the dictator’ that means an finish to the regime. Earlier than that you just weren’t listening to extra grievances concerning the lack of reform. In the present day the cry is a nationwide cry for ‘let’s do away with this method, we will not take it any longer’. In different phrases, it is revolutionary. It isn’t simply protests.”
There has additionally been an vital shift in considering overseas, he says. Attitudes have modified following the regime’s brutal repression of mass protests on the streets in Iran – prompted by the death of Mahsa Amini who was arrested by Iran’s morality police for sporting an “improper” hijab – in addition to Iran’s position in supplying weapons to Russia to wage warfare towards Ukraine.
“In the present day, the mindset is that we’ve got to transcend the regime, and the world sees that the regime is the important thing downside for every part related to it – whether it’s the nuclear issue, whether or not it is terrorism, whether or not it’s what they’re doing proper now with the Russians towards Ukraine,” the prince explains.
“And in that context, the evolution of considering is that we have to have basic change. We have to have full change. So long as this regime is in place, nothing goes to occur. So the home narrative, that of the diaspora and people of us attempting to carry it to a secular democratic choice – all of it now ties collectively.”
He stated there may be now a “window of alternative” to behave whereas the world is “ready to consider another” to the regime.
Plans for brand new authorities
Such is his confidence that regime change is imminent, the prince and his supporters have already began mapping out the primary 100 days of a brand new transitional authorities.
“Lots of people query what can come after, rightfully so,” he stated. “However I feel that Iran has all of the components and instruments to fill the void when it comes to the intelligentsia, when it comes to positions that they will instantly fill for transitional governance, specialists [in] the economic system, atmosphere, transitional justice in addition to constitutional regulation.
“What are the rapid issues that the nation can be confronted with? What’s going to the interim authorities have to anticipate and plan for within the first 100 days? These are the sorts of issues that we are able to work with our western counterparts on [to ensure] that there’s a plan and a technique.”
One main challenge for a brand new, secular authorities in Iran can be over the position of the navy, the prince says. He factors to the Nuremberg trials on the finish of the Second World Struggle, the place solely the highest Nazi officers have been prosecuted somewhat than going in spite of everything of these within the decrease ranks.
“There’s at all times the query of the place does the military stand or the place does the paramilitary ingredient stand – can they rejoin the nation? Can they survive a regime change? Is there a spot for them past the present regime sooner or later? How are they going to be reintegrated? What number of of them must face justice? What number of of them could possibly be forgiven in a technique of fact and reconciliation, how are they going to be handled below a transitional justice system?”
The prince is adamant that he doesn’t imagine within the restoration of the monarchy – as an alternative, he needs the individuals of Iran to resolve what sort of authorities there needs to be within the new state.
However he does regard himself as essential to the way forward for Iran, not least, he says, due to the help he has throughout the Iranian diaspora.
“I’m not operating for workplace or something, however…there may be actually a viewpoint that believes that I actually have a central position to play,” he stated. “I am not saying I am the one one however I actually am a essential ingredient to bringing this coalition to a fruitful conclusion.”
Wanting again to 1979, the prince described it as a “hectic” and “frenzied” time. He was already overseas – coaching as a pilot in Texas – when the revolution broke out and his household have been compelled to flee Tehran.
“I left in the summertime of 1978,” he recalled. “The truth is, on my strategy to America, I got here to England. Queen Elizabeth was form sufficient to host me at Buckingham Palace. I used to be right here for about 10 days.
“And the plan was for me to undergo the coaching after which return to Iran. However after all, the revolution occurred and ever since I have been dwelling outdoors of Iran.”
His recollections of Iran, earlier than he left when he was 17 years previous, contain travelling across the nation and finishing up official duties.
Now he’s primarily based in Washington together with his household the place he’s a full-time campaigner for a democratic Iran. He denies reviews that he has obtained funding from the CIA, saying that is “completely false” and is a false narrative, promoted by the Iranian regime in an try to “smear” him.
He additionally denies ever trying to arrange a “authorities in exile” with a view to reestablishing the monarch in Iran, saying this is able to be pointless given the de facto recognition of the present regime.
“I am not advocating one kind [of government] versus the opposite,” he stated. “As a result of, to me, it is a matter of democratic ideas. If the bulk thinks that they should nonetheless have an establishment above and past the apply of governance to carry a component of stability – which is the monarchist argument – it might be an argument however that must be determined by the individuals.”