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Former Iranian Empress Asks Iran’s Military Forces to Stand with Protesters

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Iran’s exiled Empress Farah Pahlavi warned Iran’s military forces Thursday to not become “tools of repression” for the Islamic Republic as they brutally crackdown on protesters.

Protesters have filled the streets across Iran for almost three weeks as demonstrations sparked over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. 

In an audio message on Twitter, Pahlavi directly addressed Iranian police forces, the army, Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Islamic Basij forces, and plainclothes agents, asking them to put themselves in the shoes of their brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and friends, urging them not to obey regime officials calling for crackdowns. 

The former Queen described the arrest of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Islamic morality police as “brutal and inhumane,” saying that people from all different parts of life with different beliefs and ideologies have “risen up to eliminate the oppression.”

The latest call from the former Queen of Iran comes as celebrities, dissidents, and human rights groups continue to raise awareness of protests in Iran and the Iranian regime’s brutal response on social media, urging governments in the West to support their movement.

“You are also from this nation, so be with this nation,” she said to Iran’s military forces. In late September, Pahlavi released a similar message, praising the rising protests in Iran and labeling the Islamic regime and its radical hardline supporters as “forces of darkness,” decrying the “harrowing savage crackdown” on nationwide rallies. 

Her son, exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, said on Tuesday that numerous reports “indicate the spread of strikes from cultural and educational sectors to the service and industry sectors,” calling it a move in the “right direction.”

“Nationwide strikes alongside the nationwide protests will bring this regime to its knees,” said Pahlavi. 

The exiled Crown Prince called on United States President Joe Biden and his administration not to enter an agreement with Tehran over its nuclear program. Such a move, according to Pahlavi, would provide the Islamic government with financial resources to keep the regime alive and continue its brutal repression. 

In recent interviews, the Prince became more vocally critical of administration officials and their push to revive the nuclear agreement, arguing that the new deal is worse than the one signed in 2015 under the Obama administration. 

For many Iranian Americans and Iranians living in Iran, the former Empress and Prince are praised by older to younger generations of Iranians, who continue to evoke their names in street chants as well as the name of the late Iranian monarch Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. 

In his speech to members of the IRGC, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed the protests on American and Israeli forces but also made mention of the Pahlavi family, blaming them and their supporters for stirring up anti-regime movements. 

Both Pahlavis have stated that they are not interested in overthrowing the regime for their benefit and instead want to see a democratic Iran where the rights of women are respected, and Iranians have freedom.

As protests in Iran continue into their third week, many Iranian American experts worry that the regime will begin to crack down harder than ever before against citizens on the streets. Many Iranian Americans have called on America and other Western European nations to expel Iranian officials, close Iranian embassies, and enact a maximum pressure campaign against the regime to hurt Iran’s economy and help protesters in the movement for regime change.

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