by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog (cross-posted with PressTV by permission)
(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of “I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China”.)
Reza Pahlavi, the son of deposed Iranian king Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, is reportedly set to star in a TV program for UK-based media Iran International.
The Farsi-language channel is reportedly funded by Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad bin Salman, and exists to produce propaganda against modern Iran. It also exists as a mouthpiece for terrorists: Iran International gained infamy in Iran – but no condemnation nor penalty from UK media authorities – for broadcasting a gloating interview with the perpetrators of the 2018 Ahvaz terror attack, which killed 25 people and wounded 70 others.
Mohammad bin Salman reportedly conceived the idea that the camera just loves Reza Pahlavi – MBS likely believes the camera loves all monarchs, even “never were” monarchs like Pahlavi.
MBS and Iran International may have a tough time attracting an audience, mainly because the Iranian people are not at all interested in the obvious goal of the program: whitewashing the crimes and multiple treasons of the Pahlavi household. Pahlavi will find it very hard to reverse the widespread opinion in Iran that the Pahlavi family is a hollow puppet of foreign powers which have only ill-will towards the average Iranian person.
Pahlavi, showcasing the negotiation skills he proposes to return to Iran’s top office, agreed to do the show at just 2% of his original salary demand. Perhaps Pahlavi cut his rates because he finally realised that he was not only not an actual king, but simply the son of a king, and a long-deposed king at that.
Unfortunately for those who value truth in journalism, this royal-sized discount leaves more money in the budget of Iran International – anti-Iran terrorists surely appreciate Pahlavi’s agreement to take a pay cut.
However, the same report said that he put aside his royal pride after getting pressured by the intelligence services of an unnamed European country. That European country is, of course, Poland. I realise that I am unusual in this assertion – every other Iranian surely assumes that the unnamed country can only be the UK, because bribing Iranian (ex-) elite to work for the detriment of the Iranian democratic will is what they have done since the early 1800s.
The only other European country with the neo-imperialist inclination to get involved in this type of a situation is France. However, they have long-hosted the MKO terrorist group, proving that they back the other losing horse in this pathetic race to history’s glue factory.
The MKO took time out of planning their next assassination attempt and their friendly chats with John Bolton to let it be known to their supporters inside Saudi Arabia that giving Pahlavi a program would result in the MKO leaking damaging information in retaliation. The MKO does not want Pahlavi viewed as a possible leader of the opposition to Iran’s popularly-supported democracy.
Sometimes people have fallen so far behind in a race that they actually convince themselves they are winning, and this is the case here. Watching the MKO argue with Reza Pahlavi while the Saudis try to hold the two back reminds all of Iran of Moe trying to restrain Larry and Curly in the “Three Stooges” film shorts.
The reality-show car crash which is the Pahlavi family, the “more horrifying than any movie” MKO – Iranians view both with tabloid interest combined with the relief that our national nightmares with them are completely finished. No matter how much support the US, Israel, the UK, the Arab monarchs and the French give, and no matter how much whitewashing they can get from mainstream Western media like The New York Times and Politico, neither of these groups have any political support inside Iran.
Pahlavi’s program will treat us to him traveling around the world and meeting with “dissident movements”. It boggles the mind as to whom would welcome an association with the Son of the Deposed King of Kings? Any movement which supports the restoration of royalty is automatically a reactionary group. The liberal democracy supporters (either of the republican or constitutional monarchy variety) who would go on Pahlavi’s show are obviously pathetic, aristocratic opportunists. Certainly no supporters of socialist democracy nor Islamic democracy would appear at any price.
I assume then that Pahlavi will be confined to taking his viewers to the only two areas of the world where overpaid, under-democratic monarchs predominate – the autocratic monarchies in the Muslim world and the liberal democratic monarchies of Europe.
The incredibly amusing joke which is forever ready in the bush whenever one debates with one of the “restore the shah” rich Iranian exiles is this: In their mind and in their discourse they are picturing that Darius the Great will take over, but the reality is… it’s just Reza Pahlavi!
Pahlavi is not considered by Iranians to be an especially smart guy – his only “job” has been to make well-paid speeches against Iran. Nobody, apart from the Arab monarchies, believes that “living off your inheritance” is an actual job qualification you can put on your CV. Nobody, apart from the US, imagines that “TV show star” qualifies one to lead a country.
Who will watch Reza’s new show?
We can say this for certain – absolutely nobody under the age of 40: this is a show whose appeal is based entirely around the concept of nostalgia, and Iranian youth obviously have zero experience with the Pahlavi era. And because they have been schooled in modern political concepts, they also have as little tolerance for royalism as do youth in the republics of France, Algeria or the US.
Among the middle-aged, no Reformist or Principlist party supporter could possibly take the show seriously either. The elderly who could possibly tune in once aren’t shah restorationists either – they are simply old and curious to see how the figures of their younger days turned out.
And how has Reza Pahlavi turned out? He is not someone Iranians respect, and this is for very obvious reasons: Any non-Iranian could easily grasp why he is considered to be a shameless opportunist, and the fact that he would work with the Saudi monarchy is just the latest example of this character trait.
This perception was sealed in Iran long, long ago: we must remember that Reza Pahlavi works with the Americans, who ejected his very sick father out of a hospital and into Panama, and that is something which will earn him eternal disapproval in family-loving Iran. What kind of a son works with those whom effectively killed his own father?
I’m sure non-Iranians are a bit confused and wondering: “But didn’t Iranians dislike and democratically depose his father?”
Yes, they did.. but even if your father is as bad as Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, you still shouldn’t treat your father like that! Family comes first in Iran, and please trust me that I am not joking about this Iranian cultural trait.
So, it is true – Reza Pahlavi just can’t win with Iranians, no matter what he does. Not unless he can go back in time….
Western imperialists and Zionists obviously have their own selfish reasons to ignore the reality of his total political irrelevance, but it is unfortunate for his own redemption that Pahlavi himself does not appear to grasp this fact either.
The only way Reza Pahlavi could be half the patriot, leader and sincerely religious Shia he claims to be would be to follow the example someone like the last emperor of China, Pu Yi.
Revolutionary China reformed Pu Yi from a self-centred autocrat who considered himself divine into someone who tried to be a genuinely good person. He was not executed in 1949 – he served 10 years in jail, and then was given a regular job as a street sweeper and gardener. He regularly spoke out in support of the democratic choice of the Chinese people, and he sincerely seemed to realise that monarchy is antiquated, immoral and unwanted. What Pu Yi absolutely did not do was collaborate with the enemies of the Chinese people, and at a 98% discount.
But two percent of a phony job is better than 100% of socially-productive work to some people; some people work with the worst elements of society in vain attempts to steal glory, power and ease.
Such people are not wanted around, and especially not to lead. As long as Reza Pahlavi cannot reform himself, he will never allowed to reform even a post office in Iran’s most remote mountain village, and that is the implacable and universally-known will of the Iranian people.
The only thing you can say in favor of Reza Pahlavi is that he is probably more popular inside Iran than the MKO, who – in something which can obviously never be forgiven by the average Iranian – fought alongside Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War.
However, as a journalist I am compelled to point out that both of them combined truly do not have 2% support in Iran. When Politico’s reasonably-trained journalists address this issue of obvious journalistic interest, they can only pen obscuring lies like, “it’s impossible to gauge how widespread support for the royals truly is inside Iran”. Nonsense: 2% is a totally-accurate estimation and I doubt any Iranian would seriously dispute that figure – Politico just doesn’t want non-Iranians to know or believe the truth.
And what is 2%? If you examine the number of US write-in votes in their elections we truly find that the combined votes of Disney characters and American football head coaches equals this same figure. As a serious democratic option, Pahlavi and the MKO are as serious as Mickey Mouse to the average Iranian, and if a non-Iranian wants to take one thing from this column – that should be it.
The only type of people getting their popcorn ready to watch MBS’ and Iran International’s new “Reza Pahlavi Comedy Hour” are the rich Iranian exiles in the wealthy areas of Los Angeles and Washington DC. Or rather, they are telling their servants to get the popcorn ready.
The Pahlavi show is thus designed to allow this group to continue to live in their bubble, unburdened by the facts that they often fled their own country with ill-gotten gains, that they failed to support a popular democratic revolution which took decades of sacrifices to realise, that they are nostalgic for an era which is not anywhere as beloved as they would like it to be because the mass majority was oppressed, that they are not qualified to be the leaders of modern Iran, and that they viciously and treacherously support even more hot war, cold war, sanctions and death on their own compatriots, culture and likely members of their own extended families.
This ratings group I have just described may be incredibly wealthy and able to produce any type of nonsense they want on television, but they are very small. They are also old and will soon pass into history, along with the King of Kings, his son and all their monarchical allies who – those of us living in the modern world agree – are not divine in the slightest.
As it should be, royalty is cheap in 2019 – the Saudis got Pahlavi at a 98% discount.