The exiled Shah of Iran issued his warning during a whirlwind tour of Britain and Europe, where he urged policy makers to “help Iranians” achieve their ambition of a free and democratic Iran.
“This regime will collapse and Iran will be free,” he told the Sunday Express.
“We are telling Europe to help Iranians in this process because it will lessen the cost for our compatriots. We are also telling them to be prepared for the day after, as we Iranians are preparing ourselves.”
The 62-year-old has lived in the US since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, which deposed the constitutional monarchy led by his father, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and ushered in four decades of increasingly brutal and oppressive theocracy.
But calls for regime change have been growing since September, when the death in custody of 22-year-old student Masha Amini after her arrest by so-called “morality police” for improperly wearing a hijab sparked nationwide protests which are still raging.
Hundreds of loyal supporters travelled across Britain for a chance to glimpse the Shah on Monday, as he attended a function hosted by the Henry Jackson Society in London. Some had come from abroad, including one woman who travelled from Malta.
It was the same story when hundreds of faithful supporters descended on Oxford as the Shah addressed the Oxford Union, with some brandishing signs exclaiming “Restore the monarchy how”.
Crown Prince insisted he no longer held any ambition to take his rightful seat on the Peacock Throne, acting instead as a ”centre of gravity” with his National Council of Iran, which brings together different opposition groups under the banner of democratic and secular reform.
“I came because my compatriots gave me a message to bring on their behalf,” he said.
“As they fight on the streets and in strikes and suffer imprisonment and torture, I am merely performing my duty to them and to my country.
“My family’s mission for our country has always been dedicated to Iran’s independence, liberty, and prosperity. We are committed to this mission without the expectation of anything in return.”
This represents a “dramatic transformation” from years ago, said Dr Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society.
“He is now in a very different place in terms of what he can offer. He has taken himself out of the equation and wants to achieve something refreshing when it comes to Iranian democracy.
“It’s about getting as many opposition groups as possible together to present the widest spectrum, as well as establishing a truth and reconciliation commission to bring in people from the regime.
“It has been quite a dramatic transformation and has made him by far the most effective opposition leader.”
Pahlavi called for Western leaders to exert non-military pressure, including harsher sanctions and proscribing the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organisation.
“Just as has been the case against other totalitarian regimes around the world, this regime must be pressured– from designating the IRGC to placing Magnitsky sanctions on regime officials,” he said.
‘But in addition to this, it is time to finally employ a strategy of maximum support of the people of Iran. If the people of Iran are fighting for a better future for the world, they deserve the international community’s support.”
Iranian activist Vahid Beheshi, 46, told how he launched a hunger strike in front of the Foreign Office in Whitehall to persuade the Government to take action against the IRGC, which had been extending its influence in Britain.
“I have one single demand – to place the IRGC on a list of terrorist organisations.
“The hands of IRGC are not just in Iran, not just in the Middle East, not just in Ukraine, but even here in London.
“The Metropolitan Police has asked Iran International, an independent news station, to transfer their activities to the US because of the IRGC’s threats against, them.
“The head of IRGC, Hossein Salami, boasted about this, as he boasted publicly about their desire to kill Donald Trump, and Mike Pompeo, or launch a military attack against Europe. “
Despite public messages by PM Rishi Sunak and Home Secretary Suella Braverman expressing support for proscribing the IRGC, the FCDO remains intent on blocking the move, however, reportedly because it wants to keep channels of communication open.
Charlotte Littlewood, a former UK Government Prevent practitioner and now research fellow with HJS, said: “The Government continues to view Iran as a rational state actor, when actually we are dealing with an ideology that happens to have territory. As we continue to have normal state relations we completely misunderstand the fact that our diplomacy is irrelevant.
“The IRGC is a global exporter of terrorism. The fact that the Government is struggling to act against it is very worrying -We have a number of charities and organisations in the UK with known links to extremist organisations abroad. if we cannot ban something as obviously threatening, how are we supposed to tackle extremism at all?”
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