his the father The self-proclaimed Shahenshah (King of Kings), Aryamehr (Light of the Aryans) and Monarch of the Order of the Lion and the Sun. When the king died in 1980, a year after he was overthrown by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, his 20-year-old student son declared himself king with equal majesty. “I’ll let you call me whatever you want,” Reza Pahlavi says modestly now.
He said it was up to the Iranian people to decide whether the Peacock Throne should have a new royal incumbent. If they choose a secular democratic republic, he will consider it his duty to support it. He just wants to help lead his people peacefully out of the current decadent religious dictatorship.
A group of leading figures in the protest movement that erupted in Iran last September have pledged allegiance to him. So did footballer Ali Karimi, who has 15 million followers on Instagram. Opposition satellite channel interviews Iran from royal base in Washington, D.C. direct currentOn Feb. 18, he took the podium at the annual gathering of global leaders in Munich to discuss world security. It was “incredibly empowering,” he said. Despite his 44-year absence, a recent poll suggests he might be the favorite, if given a choice. “He is our new Cyrus,” said a young fan in the capital Tehran, referring to the Persian emperor of 2,500 years ago.
Since the Shah was overthrown, two generations of Iranians have listened to the horror Savac, his vicious secret police, and the one-party state they oversee.but SavacSome of today’s protesters say their brutality pales in comparison to the ayatollah’s. Pervasive poverty, strict social restrictions and the country’s untouchable status have all contributed to many nostalgia for the past. “We wronged him when we fired him,” said one student. “We must pay his son’s debt.”
Still, Mr Pahlavi will find it difficult to cancel the order of the clergy remotely. His domestic network is limited. His own dedication has been called into question. During the previous wave of unrest against the ayatollah in 2019, he apparently remained aloof on a Caribbean diving vacation as protesters chanted his name.
“The monarchy is in great demand,” said a former aide to the future king. “If he’d done the job, the Islamic Republic wouldn’t have lasted 43 years.” That might be harsh but realistic. The Peacock Throne may remain unoccupied for a while.