Silence: An Open Letter to Reza Pahlavi

by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich(CASMII Columns)
Thursday, April 2, 2009

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I often hear that you care about Iranians; yet your apparent apathy towards Iran’s rich heritage expressed by your silence, one of the hardest arguments to refute, is incomprehensible. Surely the fate of Iran’s historical and cultural heritage, the Persepolis Artifacts which are in the balance and may be awarded to Jenny Rubin and other plaintiffs for damages attributed to Hamas bombs in Jerusalem, in defiance of all international laws, should boil your royal blood? 

I write to you in the hope that in the absence of a blatant disregard for international law by your friends, you may use your connections to help salvage what rightfully belongs to Iran and Iranians. Many of the people you know are highly influential in Israel as well as in the United States, in particular some who attended a conference with you in June 2007 in Prague -“Democracy and Security” -- with organizers such as the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Likudist Shalem Center in Jerusalem.

Going down the list of attendees, Weekly Standard’s editor, William Kristol, who serves on the Shalem’s board of directors (incidentally two months after the Iraq invasion he opined: “[T]he war in which we are presently engaged is a fundamental challenge for the United States and the civilized world ….The liberation of Iraq was the first great battle for the future of the Middle East. The creation of a free Iraq is now of fundamental importance…But the next battle ..will be for Iran.”[i][i] ), and Israel’s man of the year comes to mind. He would a terrific start since he owns a media empire and if you could persuade him to lobby on Iran’s behalf and inform the public how wrong it is to steal a country’s treasure in violation of all international laws, it would help your motherland greatly.

Others present at that meeting and discussing the danger Iran posed to the world were Richard Perle, Michael Rubin, Michael Novak, Joshua Muravchik, and Reuel Marc Gerecht from the pro-Israeli American Enterprise Institute (AEI)[ii]. Since you have cozied up to them, perhaps you can salvage our national treasure by asking them to put in a good word for us. You see, the Iranian people have a hard time understanding why you are so silent in the face of all this when you know so many influential friends.

And while I am at it, shamelessly asking so many favors, in case you have been too busy writing all your books and giving interviews, you may not have noticed that they are calling the Persian Gulf axxxxx Gulf. Since you have both Pentagon and Arab connections, if not for Iran and Iranians sake, at least for your poor father who must be turning in his grave to see you standing by idle, too busy promoting yourself to care about Iran. 

You need not be shy. It is an open secret that the CIA had to stop supporting you after the Iran Contra Affair came to light and so you had to go to the emir of Kuwait, the emir of Bahrain, the king of Morocco, and the royal family of Saudi Arabia to ask for funds[iii]. No doubt, they have an open door policy with you and no doubt amenable to a civilized conversation. You can tell them they can’t buy Persian Gulf with their money – it is not for sale. The problem being, you owe them

Perhaps you could persuade the Pentagon to stop its mischief. It really is very troubling for patriotic Iranians to hear these warmongering people repeat some false name instead of the glorious Persian Gulf name. In August 2003, when the Pentagon issued new guidelines – that is, all meetings with Iranian dissidents had to be cleared with Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, your name was included in the list of contacts who had been meeting with Pentagon analysts[iv]. It is easier for you to have access to this man, General Petraeus and enlighten him. In his senate hearing today, he used the wrong name for the Persian Gulf. But then again, there is so much misconception going on. 

Finally, Mr. Pahlavi, if you want Iranians to like you, you have to earn it. You can’t build love on hate – that is, expect people to love you by making them hate the IRI. Sadly, your advisors fail to tell you when to speak and when to be silent so as to benefit Iran. As they say, speak now or forever stay silent.

[i] William Kristol, Weekly Standard, May 12, 2003

[ii] and

[iii] Connie Brock, ‘A Reporter at Large, Exiles; How Iran's expatriates are gaming the nuclear threat’.

“The New Yorker”, 2006

[iv] Eli Lake, New York Sun , Dec. 2, 2003