The pressure rose in the Yemen-Saudi-Iran triangle last week due to the rockets launched by Houthi rebels on Wednesday, July 25th from Yemen’s Red Sea coastline (or from another vessel), on a Saudi oil tanker sailing in the Red Sea near Yemen.
The Saudis decided to stop using this essential route to bring oil to Europe, and world oil markets began showing signs of tension.
In addition, a Twitter duel has been raging for the past two weeks between the Iranian rulers and the US government, with each side threatening the other: The Iranians threaten the boats sailing through the Straits of Hormuz and the Americans threaten the Iranians not do dare interfere with international sea routes, one of them being the Red Sea.
On the backdrop of these mutual threats, and the possibility that they might lead to the employment of force and military conflict, it is important to read the second part of the interview granted by the son of the deposed Shah, Reza Pahlevi II, to the Elaph website (my additions in parentheses, M.K.) during the month of July.
Pahlevi: “The Gulf States and Iran will have to deal with much future suffering if things continue as they are now, but if the regime falls, a new horizon will open up for cooperation in every area and to everyone’s benefit. I have said it before and am even more convinced that my observations were on the mark: Iran does not need nuclear arms nor does it need to be obsessed with military might. Iran is in possession of resources and a demographic makeup that allows for great economic growth, especially if there is a real development plan based, among other things, on cooperation with its neighboring states.
“I believe that once the nuclear weapons are dismantled, a new and positive spirit will emerge.” (If the world, however, does not force Iran to scrap its nuclear plans, the tension will continue.)
Sans racism, sans sectarianism
What is your message to the Gulf States and the Arab World during this period in history?
Pahlevi: “We have much in common. We want our children and young people to have a better future, we want a future without racism (Arab against Persian) and without sectarianism (Shiite against Sunni). We want stability and development. Which state is going to be the leader of this massive change is not important, nor does it matter if there are disagreements on these issues. The Gulf has two coastlines and along most of them really good things are to be found, such as talented people in every field.”
“It’s time the region’s nations began to reap benefits from one another. I hope to see the European model of cooperation take root here. These dreams do not depend on the work of one person or leadership because it will be the people who make the decisions. The Europeans chose to work together for a joint future, without any decision by a single person to enforce that process. It would be wonderful if that could happen in our region at a rapid pace without wasting time and effort.
“My message (to the Arab Gulf States) is: There is no enmity between us, we have a common denominator and fertile ground for cooperation for the common good (he may mean: If you help me get rid of the mullahs and allow me to be the ruler in Iran, the area will become a Garden of Eden).
We want to have modern ports, a strong joint economy for everyone to enjoy. Enough of the enmity the (Iranian) mullahs caused between us. The worst form of populism has become the norm and we have to change all that. We have to guard our resources in this region, we have to work to develop it with all our power. We must stand strong together in order to stop those countries who hope to take advantage of us and profit from the disputes between us.
From an economic viewpoint
Elaph: How do you analyze the situation in Iran from the point view of the economy and encouraging investment?
Pahlevi: “The situation in Iran is so volatile that I am convinced that all that is missing is for the Iranians to have the opportunity to create an alternative and accept its price (one that they will be forced to pay). Right now, there is no one willing to invest in Iran. Unfortunately, poverty and unemployment rule at every intersection of an Iranian’s life. This is the result of failed management and political and ideological trends (the export of the revolution to other countries) that destroy any chance to improve the lot of the Iranian people. While we talk, there are Japanese and Chinese vessels which have taken over the Iranian bank of the Gulf and are gathering the Iranian treasure trove of fish.”
“I cannot understand how the Iranians let this happen. What undercover deals were struck? (Someone in Iran must have gotten a hefty bribe to allow China and Japan to take over the Iranian fishing territories). Iran is suffering, the present generation is suffering, all are suffering because of this regime’s actions. I do not believe the Iranian people agree to have others squander our riches. All this is happening due to secret deals and no one knows exactly who profits from them.
Hussein (probably a Shiite) from Iraq writes:
“This is an attempt to blind us or make us forget:”
“It was the Shah’s Iran under Reza Pahlevi’s father that tried to interfere in the Persian Gulf’s affairs, ruin the area’s reputation and weaken the Arab states, especially Iraq. I think that Mr. Reza II has not forgotten how his father would interfere in Iran’s internal affairs by aiding armed militias (the Kurds) in northern Iraq, providing them with money, arms and expertise, and I also don’t think that Mr. Reza II has forgotten how his father allowed Israeli and US Intelligence to enter northern Iraq to train militants (Kurds) to fight against the Iraqi regimes from 1958 on, in order to rule the region by conquering the three islands (in the Gulf: Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa) after he purchased them from one of the Gulf rulers in 1962.
“I don’t think that Mr. Reza II and the Elaph website have forgotten that Iran insists on calling the Arabian Gulf by the name Persian Gulf and protests when anyone calls it by another name. If we are going to talk about this, we can write entire books about Iran’s interference in the affairs of the region’s countries, because the Shah’s regime called him the’ Gulf Police Officer’. The Gulf States lived in fear of his behavior and aspirations because he purchased large amounts of advanced Western weaponry, as several of the states near the Gulf are doing now (Saudi Arabia and the Emirates).’
“At any rate, it would be wonderful if wisdom, patience and calm would find a place in the minds of Iran’s rulers and those of the Arabian Gulf so that they could go about their affairs in an atmosphere of tranquillity, understanding and peaceful dialogue, because the wars, destruction and killing are going to spell the end for all of us. We have plenty of examples, such as North and South Korea, Japan and the entrance of the USA into the picture. Peace serves us all and wars destroy us all.”
Hassan al Rashid comments under the headline: A burnt playing card
“The man whose father was the ‘police officer of the Gulf’ in order to serve the USA wants to market himself as the alternative to the capable Islamic Republic which has managed, over a period of four decades, to bring Iran up to the level of highly developed nations in terms of science, technology and production, as opposed to the Shah’s regime under which Iran slid into a tunnel of poverty, backwardness and corruption in every sphere, whether economic, political, social or ethical. The Shah sold his country to the Americans in exchange for protecting his throne, but that protection could not stand up to the Iranian people’s rebellion.
“He lacked legitimacy, and was rejected from within the country despite the enormous amount of money he spent on spreading propaganda and buying loyalty. Reza II has no plans except achieving power, resurrecting a dead and embalmed regime that does not suit the present or future just as it was a helpless failure in the past. It is idiotic to market a loser when experience proves that his father’s regime played the role of the US regional policeman, forcing most of the other Arab leaders to be subservient to his authority and wishes, and turned them into his slaves. What can this boy suggest besides empty promises whose only goal is regaining the Peacock Throne and ruling from its heights? There is a well known saying: ‘The believer does not allow the same viper to bite him twice’ (anyone with brains does not approach a snake’s lair after having been bitten previously by that same snake.
From readers’ responses it is clear that Reza Pahlevii’s sweet talk does not impress many listeners in the Arab world. It is also obvious that people see him as someone who will think and act like his father, a tendency that is rooted in the traditional way of thinking in the Middle East which believes that every son is an exact duplicate of his father. Egyptians are fond of saying: The son of the engineer is also an engineer, and this saying expresses, with much self criticism and sad loathing, the absurdity in the concept that a son must be like his father whether or not he has the same talents.
Those who think that Reza II’s behavior is going to be an exact duplicate of his father’s, act according to the Middle Eastern concep that creates the son in his father’s image. This is based on the idea that the father is older and more experienced and therefore worthy of emulation. His son, lacking knowledge and experience, must follow in his father’s footsteps because not doing so would be rebelling against his father’s authority and the mandated recognition that his father is perfect and his behavior ideal.
Many in the Arab world, and perhaps even in Iran, do not buy Reza II’s words, and have no hope of seeing the Shah’s descendants returning to rule Iran. Will he succeed in convincing enough Iranians to support him as an alternative to the mullahs? We will only know the answer to that after the fact. (To be continued)
Reprinted with author’s permission from Israel National News