The son of the late Iranian Shah on Thursday expressed his solidarity with Ukrainians who have suffered from Russian-fired drones allegedly sold by Tehran and called for new, tough measures against the clerical regime.
“Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people who are defending their sovereignty,” Reza Pahlavi told reporters after addressing the protests that have gripped Iran from his home in exile in Washington.
“We accuse the Islamic regime not only of having completely destroyed our freedom,” he said, “but now it is also cooperating with those who are jeopardizing the sovereignty of another nation.”
The European Union and Britain on Thursday completed sanctions against three Iranian generals and a weapons company over the drones in Ukraine that killed five people and destroyed power plants and other vital civilian infrastructure in Kyiv on Monday.
US and European officials say they have evidence Russia bought cheap Iranian drones that explode on impact. Russia and Iran both denied the drones came from Tehran at a Security Council meeting convened by Western nations on Wednesday.
Pahlavi said there was little doubt that the clerical Iranian state that replaced his father’s Western-leaning monarchy after the 1979 revolution had meddled around the world.
“The question is not what the Iranian regime is doing. The question is how the world will react and whether it will take clear action to condemn the regime’s actions through sanctions with painful consequences,” he said.
He called the international pressure “a win-win situation – the only one who is in danger of losing is the Islamic regime and we don’t care.”
Pahlavi advocates the formation of a secular democracy in Iran and not necessarily the restoration of the centuries-old monarchy, an option that has limited appeal in the country.
In his address, Pahlavi said that Iranians have “reached the world’s admiration” through more than a month of protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the notorious “morality police.” .
“Your movement has also crippled the regime’s propaganda and storytelling machinery,” Pahlavi said.
“You wanted women to be slaves of men, but you, Iranian women, with the support of your husbands, brothers, fathers and sons, started the first women’s revolution in history.”
Pahlavi said he was making progress on international work to set up a fund to help Iranians wanting to go on strike, although he said details were still being agreed.
Pahlavi again urged world powers to expel Iranian ambassadors and halt negotiations with the clerical state after months of failed efforts to restore a 2015 nuclear deal.