VOA Doh Roozeh Aval with Abdol Karim Lahidji on the IRI Constitution

VOA Doh Roozeh Aval with Abdol Karim Lahidji on the IRI Constitution
by Darius Kadivar

Bijan Farhoudi interviews Abdol Karim Lahidji one of the drafters of the  Islamic Republic of Iran's Constitution which celebrates it's 30th Anniversary this year. Saturday Program 5th of December 2009.

To Watch Click Here 

Or Visit VOA Program Website Here


more from Darius Kadivar

Thanks, Darius, Benross

by پندارنیک on

I am very pleased that Benross has joined in. 

We have obviously different takes on this issue; which doesn't necessarily mean that we're on a colliding course. I simply think, Reza Pahlavi can gain enormous surge in popular support by offering a systematic dialogue on the subject of his father's era. How much more can he loose, anyway?

Darius Kadivar

Pendar Neek Jaan But RP cannot substitute a Historian's job

by Darius Kadivar on

The point is that what you are demanding him is to substitute an objective historian in making an assessment on his fathers reign.

To begin with he cannot be as objective from that perspective as someone like Abbas Milani for instance or any other researcher or historian.

What we need to understand is that even a Restoration of lets say the Monarchy in Iran with RP as King won't stop history to be researched and studied and debated particularly in a democratic society.

If you look at the case of Queen Elisabeth's uncle King Edward VIII who abdicated and which led to an institutional crisis because of his decision to marry a divorcee ( and our 1906 Constitution is not even that rigid). Well the latter was even accused later on of having Pro Nazi Sympathies. The British monarchy and the institutions however remained intact because the British have made a clear distinction between the State and The monarchs that represent them ...  

Look at the number of books being published on the Diana, The Queen or the British Royals or even the tabloids which are at worst moderated when they attack them on a personal level and the Royals like any other citizen ( subject by the Way of the Queen of England) can sue them if they feel their rights have been slandered.

But the Constitution does not put the King or Queen above the Law.

Princess Ann for instance or The Princess of York have been condemned for Tax evasion and even brought to court. The Queen of England Pays taxes since the late 1990's something that has even inspired the King of Morroco today to also pay taxes.

Its the same in nearly all European Monarchies today which are at amongst the most progressive democratic societies today !

What is Objective about Queen Elizabeth 2 speaches about the Commonwealth upon which she reigns upon or its utility ? Her comment and speaches are at best politically correct so as not to offend anyone. 

You forget also that as Crown Prince, Reza who has also made major concessions to those who oppose him by already suggesting to submit his legitimacy  which his own followers don't question to the sanctity of the Ballot box and not to God (therefore a so called Divine Right which is an obsolete and medieval notion) so what is there to expect more from him to do ? Say to his own Constituency Go F..ck Off ?

And insult the memory of those families who sacrificed a family member to defending their King ?

Don't They also have a Right in being Respected ?

BOOK: EVEN AFTER ALL THIS TIME By Afschineh Latifi ( A Memoir )

A National Reconciliation cannot be achieved by seeing Just one side of the picture and ignoring the other.

It is a Choice we need to make collectively and democratically even if ultimately it can even lead to the establishment of a Secular Republic to my own dismay !

The other solution is to surrender and give it all to the Mullahs and the Islamic Republic Think Tanks to make a choice for Us.

Well Personally I won't give them that luxury.

But this is an interesting and legitimate debate.

My Humble Opinion,






This is may take

by benross on

One of the reasons that Reza Pahlavi does not bring up the role of his father in the revolution, in my view, is that despite what he personally believes what was the role of his father, it is still an open discussion and is not necessarily shared by everybody. I have a gut feeling that I would not agree with what he personally believes!

His focus is on what can bring all of us together. His father was the Shah, the head of the state and the ruler. In that sense, all the responsibilities fall on him. I don't think Reza Pahlavi is denying it. But if we get away of the simple facts and 'what's, to 'how's, we have not yet, as a nation, reached a common conclusion. And I don't think we ever would.

So basically, Reza Pahlavi is leaving the past for historians to judge. My problem is not with this part of his position. My problem is with his handling of the present. This is where I slightly differ with Darius. Being a spokesman and 'leader' of our fight is not a brain surgery. We want to depose IRI and restore the only legitimate historical document of Iran's fight for modernity, the constitutional monarchy, until establishing a democratic process of regime choice. This is not so complicated. The spokesman and leader of such plan has a very specific and clear mandate and the operational tasks naturally fall on the organization derived from this and not him. All it takes is for him to declare for such process, he, as the legitimate crown prince of the legitimate constitution that we want to restore, is the leader. He takes the torch. He does it. He has to say it too.


Darius jaan

by پندارنیک on

I had no intention to imply that you are on the Pahlavis' payroll. Their fortune which you mentioned is not my focus point either.

You see darius, this is the dilemma I face with. To believe or, not to believe. How can I trust a man who refuses to discuss the past? Am I simply clear here or, not? His existence  on the Iranian political scene is based on an undeniable historical fact; his father was the Shah when the revolution took place then, why doesn't he want to dissect the causes of the revolution? What does hold him back?

Would you try to give me an answer?


Darius Kadivar

Pendar Neek Jaan also listen to Milani's interview

by Darius Kadivar on

Very interesting and I believe adds to this debate :


I share much of his assessments equally both on the pros and cons of the Shah's regime.



Darius Kadivar

Your Weclome Pendar Neek Jaan

by Darius Kadivar on

Firsty I do not know if I am appreciated by the Pahlavi family as you claim for I have had no share in their fortune nor am I being paid for my writings or opinions.

If they appreciate my feedbacks and read this stuff all the better maybe it will even give them some good ideas. If not it won't stop me from sleeping at nights nor express myself freely for I do not belong to any political party and am not a member of the Constitutional Party of Iran either.

Simply Like Yves Montand regarding his support of the Polish Solidarnosc Movement summed it best: A compagnon de Route !

Secondly Even if I understand your frustrations regarding Reza Pahlavis statements or for not responding to ALL Your Expectations or simply your legitimate demands or concerns  regarding his genuine opinions or sincerity its probably because once again your expectations are those of someone who fears to see him as a Leader in otherwords a would be Ruler be it if he were King or President. I don't even see him as a major Thinker or intellectual for that matter.

This is where we Differ. I don't see him as a Leader but simply a Catalyst or figurehead no more no less.

He embodies the Institution I want to see Restored in my country aimed at two specific goals:

1) A National Reconciliation

2) A Democratic Transition towards a Truly Democratic society with a coherent Constitution and in line with our historical traditions inspored by our 100 year struggle for democracy.

Others including you are free to offer other options. I am simply outlining mine and what I see are also those of RP and the Constitutionalists in general.




Thank you Darius

by پندارنیک on

Let me start with acknowledging your fair and unbiased approach. You are, most obviously, a monarchist who have invested all your intellectual and moral treasure in the family of the late Aryamehr the Shah. No matter who says what; your kind of loyalty in and out of itself is a valuable, seemingly  non-negotiable and, nowadays, rare commodity; I'm sure it's highly appreciated among the Pahlavis.

I'd also thank you for the video links and other information provided. I'm also grateful for your reference to Reza Pahlavi's book, Winds Of Change, which, maybe to your surprise, I have already read but have failed to find a sincere  reference to the real cause of the revolution which, in my humble opinion, was his father's dictatorial regime. I've also watched and, read his numerous interviews; all of which is about "present and future", he flatly dodges any question about the past. Can you tell me why he needs to detach himself from the past in such a fashion?   

Darius Kadivar

benross Jaan

by Darius Kadivar on

At the time of the speach you see, Bakhtiar was something like in his late 60's. He was assassinated a year or so later ...

When he became Prime Minister he was like the French say "Dans la Force de l'Age" in his mid 50's something like France's Sarkozy today ...

No wonder the latter even defended his memory :


Darius Kadivar

Pendar Neek Jaan

by Darius Kadivar on

Thank you for your interest and your civil discourse.

Not only did Reza Pahlavi (whom I consider as Legitimate Crown Prince ) acknowldeged his father's shortcomings and mistakes and the fact that he overlooked the Constitution but he went much further in his criticisms by clearly saying that people were tortured and killed during his fathers reign.

Have you ever bothered to read any of his two book ? Winds of Change or The Time of Choice ( this one is only available in French for the time being) ?

Reza Pahlavi New Book (A TIME OF CHOICE) Q&A With French Media

And I don't expect anyone to read this like some kind of Tozyhol Massael like Khomeiny's Green Book and claim that it is some kind of sacred book written from God's Lips.

It is simply a call on our sense of responsability as Iranians and Partiots regardless of what we think about the Monarchy or the Pahlavis. 

His interest and concern for Human Rights does not date from today unlike some last minute patriots today ...



Reza Pahlavi's message on the Anniversary of the 1906 Constitutional

Now if anyone including a would be Qajar Prince or Princess, or of another Iranian Dynasty or even a Presidential Candidate has a better idea or claim to the Throne of Iranzamin or the Presidential Chair. Please be my guest and let us hear what they suggest ? ...

But more than This I don't see what else I can say to prove his good faith :

REZA's CALL: An Iranian Solidarnosc... By DK

My Humble Opinion,



Thank you Darius

by پندارنیک on

First of all, let me thank you for your rather detailed answer to my remark; I truly admire your sense of  conviction and loyalty. Now, I'd like to mention the fact that nobody and no historic circumstance, as far as I remember forced the Shah to become a dictator or, in your kind interpretation an absolute King; I am old enough to know that he rejected many opportunities to limit himself to His constitutional role up to the day he made His infamous telecast speech when He confirmed that He too had heard the voice of people's revolution. Don't you think that Reza Pahlavi should have acknowledged his father's grave mistakes in regards to His dictatorial/absolute style and methods? Have you ever heard him saying that he understands why millions of people poured into the streets of all major cities in Iran and shouted "death to the shah" ?


Excellent blog Darius

by benross on

Excellent blog Darius jan.

It's truly sad, but the way I remember, my only problem with Bakhtiaar was a generational gap. I did not try to overcome this gap and he could not.

Darius Kadivar

PendarNeek Jaan: No comparison between the Two Constitutions ...

by Darius Kadivar on

There is No comparison between the Two Constitutions ...

There is an expression in French:

Ne mélangeons pas les torchons et les serviettes ...


Don't Mix Your Hankerchief with Your Kleenex ...

To Begin With Iran was a Secular Nation before the Revolution.

The Shah however was an Absolute Monarch but not a Dictator. At least no more than lets say the King of Morroco today or the King of Jordan. He did have an Enormous Power magnified by Iran's Economic Potential as an Oil Producing country. But at least he put his power into building his country regardless of the shortcomings and mistakes rather than destroying it as the mullahs in Iran have for the past 30 decades ... It may seem absurd to make the distinction but a closer look at the history of our nation will show you that there is no place for a Republic in our country ... Democracy However Deserves ALL it's Place in Iran and a Legitimate one.

That does not mean that I consider Republics as Undemocratic but simply that Democracy is not the property of a given political establishment.

Nearly All Republican experiences in the middle East and North Africa which are part of the Maghreb have been failures. Most have led to long presidential tenures and passed on in a nearly dynastic fashion from Father to Son ...

What We Iranians fail to understand but more importantly pretend not to understand because we don't want to take the failure of the Republican experience and therefore the Revolution on our own shoulders is that to achieve democracy we are not forced to copy models that are alien to our culture or understanding of how our society has evolved over the centuries.

We are an Old and Ancient Nation which identity was shaped by the monarchy for more than 25 centuries. It was ruled by all types of monarchs and dynasties. Some were belevolant rulers others blood thirsty tyrants.

But the notion of democracy is barely a 100 years old in our country and led to a Democratic constitution itself drafted upon a European model which abided to the same functional laws and rules of a Parlimentary Democracy.

That in itself was a step forward into defining a framework of legality that never existed in our country where the Ruler was King or Queen by Divine Right.

We can blame the late Shah for the way he handled his reign and on the fact that he overlooked the constitution when it did not fit his own prerogatives or interests. But He was NO TYRANT not even in the Greek Definition of the Word.

He was an absolute King YES ! 

But on the otherhand Iran's Civil Society was probably not as unified nor able to formulate its exact demands in a way that would not only enforce it but also restore mutual confidence between the monarch and its people.

I do not believe personally but you may disagree and I won't hold it against you that a Revolution or more accurately destroying what exists is necessary in order to recreate something new and more progressive.

I believe that nation building particularly after a regime like the one in Iran which has tried to demolish everything in our pride and national identity on grounds that it was "taghouti" or impure from a religious point of view can be achieved by denying the past and history.

Why does History matter ? I think it matters not only to understand who we are but how we have evolved as a nation in order to prepare the future.

A Look back at the last hundred years offers ample examples and reasons to consider that a national reconciliation is not only an option but an absolute necessity if we do not want to end up like Ex Yougoslavia into a country crippled by internal divisiveness and instability but also god forbid civil war.

That is why I personally advocate a Restoration as Opposed to a Revolution.

Restoring our National Flag but also Institution starting with the 1906 constitution but re inforced ( as opposed to revised) so as to guarantee the Power of the Parliment over the Crown and also government.

This is nothing new ... It has happened in the past in different countries where either civil war or revolution have crippled a nation's will and dignity to such extents that no other solution other than a national reconciliation seems fit to rebuild the nation on a fresh but also enduring path towards democracy and the safeguard of individual and collective rights.

Spain obviously is the first example that comes to mind but it is not the only one. Japan, Belgium, Great Britain all of which ( with the exception of Belgium) have an old history of monarchical rule and also rich and sophisticated cultures where the King Reigns but does Not Rule.

What we see in Iran and what took place in 1979 regardless of the opinion we can have of the late Shah and his own failures and shortcomings as a man and ruler was that the chance of establishing a truly Constitutional Monarchy was highjacked by not only the Mullahs but also the probably by our own lack of understanding of how our own collective psyche ...

This is not about Leadership. I do not consider for instance Reza Pahlavi as a Leader but rather the embodiement of an institution that can serve an ideal of national unity and mutual recognition between the State and the People.

That is basically what a constitution is all about ! Defining the framework within which a political group can run the country while respecting the people's rights and their legitimate demands to be governed with equity and justice and have their say on the policies carried out by the government.

You need to understand the difference between a Government and a Regime. 

In the case of the Monarchy, the Shah was no more behaving as a Constitutional Monarch but the government and institutions were not only functional but flexible. The mistake was to think that by asking him to leave we would achieve democracy ! When in fact it was the contrary. The Shah had reached a point of no return other than accepting the peoples will and that of a government whose Prime Minister was even an early opponent to his reign and policies.

The fact that Bakhtiars government was named late or the historical circumstances that made it fail is not what I am arguing here but rather that the role of the opposition and of Khomeiny the leader of this Revolution was wrong in their approach.

They wanted to Ruin the Regime and rebuild a new society based on a totally improvised  new Constitution. As a matter of fact even Abdol Karim Lahidji admits this fact when he says it doesn't matter what you draft as a Constitution if that piece of paper is not applied by the government or the regime's figurehead.

The Point is that the current Regime unlike that of the Shah is NOT Reformable.

The Monarchy is not an Ideology like the Islamic Republic's Religious Sharia laws. 

The 1906 Constitution prevails even without the Shah as a Democratic Constitution. That of the Islamic Republic without the Velayateh Fagih Remains a Religious theocracy that has no equivilent Anywhere in the World nor in History other than maybe under the Spanish Inquisition.

So a Restoration seems to me the most logical but also adequate shortcut towards a Parlimentary Democracy ( which can equally be a Monarchy or a Secular Republic).

However I think that under a Secular Republic we may well end up in much more instability that could lead to the collapse of the entire democratic framework where as under the Constitutional Monarchy the Prime Minister can come and go but the Monarch as Figurehead remains as a national symbol of unity. Not in the mystical sense as lets say during the last Shah but rather like the Queen of England or the Kings of Spain or Sweden. It is actually the Crown and Not the King that ultimately is respected symbolically in these countries and Iran will be no exeption.

I truly don't see how Reza Pahlavi can ever Rule Iran as an Absolute King. He can at worst be a kind of Moderator on very exceptional situations in the process of establishing this regime change but truly how and why should he try to have absolute power knowing that his children all girls will never be Reza Shah's nor belong to that generation of "Shahollahi" or "Daie Jan Napoleoni" mindsets.

The Monarchy in Iran even if Restored will have to adapt itself to the realities of our country and its natural evolution. The nation's civil society will be able to shape this monarchy so that it can represent it with dignity but also with a social ( and not political purpose) as it does in all European Monarchies which are considered as amongst the most progressive and Stable in Europe. Were it not in Sweden that Social Democrats were elected for decades and governed the country with Left Wing Policies ? Same with with Spain today and for a Second generation of Spaniards.

True there is a difference between a Republic and a Constitutional Monarchy in terms of representation. One is more glittery and also expects a Family to represent it other than the elected Prime Minister on certain state visits while the other is only represented by the elected President. However this is not done trivially but with a purpose and with a budget that does not exceed the expenses of the French Republic for instance when they greet foreign dignitaries at Elysee Palace.

Such choices cannot be determined in advance. It is a Nation that decides on its future and how it wants to be governed democratically and represented symbolically.

But to claim that nation building is possible without symbolic gestures or representation is basically naive.

All countries need symbols. Even if they have lost in luster or at times credibility they need to refer to some unifying institution that begins with the Flag of a nation.

In some Monarchies as a matter of fact people don't shout Long Live the King or Queen But Long Live The Crown. Just to mention the distinction that it is about the Institution and Not the King or Queen who have to live up to the expectations of the Constitution and not the otherway round.

In the end the debate of what is better for Iran that is a Republic or a Constitutional Monarchy will have to take place after Regime Change. Even Bakhtiar the late Prime Minister outlined it clearly.

Bakhtiar on Regime Change and Constitution of Future Democratic State :

So the best is to at least listen to what it consists of and debate over its pros and cons before dismissing it as an unrealistic option.

Otherwise we may well be heading towards a Yougoslavian Scenario which we will all regret due to our stubborness to reach some kind of compromise and unity.


My humble But Firm Opinion,



Thank you Darius

by پندارنیک on

Thanks Darius jan for the interesting blog.

It's worth noting that all dictatorships have similar endings; IRI will definitely end up like  the Shah's regime. They both belong to history's garbage bin.