Iran’s Crown Princess Yasmine Pahlavi said Monday that any normalization of relations with Iran’s government will result in greater human rights violations and oppression for the Iranian people who are simply asking foreign governments to stop “legitimizing” the totalitarian regime.
“I think when we normalize relations with a regime like this, we only help them be stronger and we only help them oppress their people more,” said Pahlavi in an interview with The Foreign Desk’s Lisa Daftari
Pahlavi addressed how treating the Iran regime as a reliable negotiating partner and entering into warming relations with the “criminal regime” might affect the future of people like British-Iranian Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was recently released from detainment after serving a five-year sentence in Iran for allegedly conspiring against the regime.
While Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release has been widely celebrated, she remains in Iran, and there is reasonable concern that new, unfounded charges will be pressed against her as a means to keep her imprisoned, a concern Pahlavi shares.
“This government is not one that can be relied upon to keep their word and so any negotiation or any give and take, I think it’s really a shot in the dark. They do these things. They keep doing it. The regime has no respect for human rights, and so…she’s been released and now they’re probably just going to come up with some other reason to detain her further,” said Pahlavi.
All the Iranian people ask is for “the foreign governments to not make their task harder by legitimizing and supporting this criminal regime that is violating their human rights,” says Pahlavi, who believes “the fundamental hope of Iranians is in their own hands.”
The Biden administration has made known its intent to re-engage with Iran to pursue a revived nuclear deal; however, such a negotiation is precisely the type of legitimization Pahlavi urges foreign governments to avoid.
“I think that legitimizing this regime in any way, treating them as real good faith partners in negotiations is a mistake. I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them, so I don’t know whether, even if you have a piece of paper, whether there’s any value to that piece of paper and deal,” Pahlavi said in reference to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.
During Pahlavi’s work assisting Iranian refugees in Greece, she was witness to a portion of the suffering faced by the Iranian people and was tremendously inspired by their resilience and the strength of the human spirit she saw within them.
“I guess if I were to sum it all up, it’s that despite horrible, terrible conditions, and you know not only what they escaped from, their stories of what they had endured in Iran, but then coming to Greece and enduring further humiliations and abuse and trauma, what I took away from it is how…these people still were so giving, so loving, so kind,” said Pahlavi.
Pahlavi expressed that she will “never forget those people, those faces, and those hugs,” she received from the Iranian refugees, many of whom surprised her by immediately recognizing her by sight, she explained.
While Pahlavi humbly stated that she was “very hesitant to give advice to people whose shoes [she is] not walking in,” she encouraged freedom-seeking Iranians and those wishing to support them to avoid getting “paralyzed and overwhelmed by the problem” by setting “achievable goals” and asking, “What is in my power to change? What is in my power to affect?”
To watch the whole interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oJI_vLujr0