The Shah's last Prime Minister Shapour Bakhtiar was to give an exclusive interview with NEWSWEEK’s correspondent Donna Foote in the mid 1980's in which he advocated Regime Change and the Restoration of the Monarchy in replacement of what he considered the illegitimate theocracy in Iran. Below is the exact transcript of the interview.
Interview with Shahpur Bakhtiar Newsweek July 30th,1984
“I want to Overthrow Khomeini”
(Link to Original Transcript)
Shahpur Bakhtiar,70, was prime minister of Iran during the closing days of the shah’s regime.His civilian government was forced out of Power after Only 37 days when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took power in 1979. Since then Bakhtiar has lived in exile in Paris, where he heads the National Movement of the Iranian Resistance (NAMIR). He spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Donna Foote in London recently about opposition to Khomeiny and the Iran-Iraq War. Excerpts:
FOOTE: As an opposition leader living in exile, what are your goals for Iran?
BAKHTIAR: My goals have been very simple from the beginning.I want to overthrow Khomeini and replace his so–called Islamic Republic with aconstitutional monarchy with freedom of speech, human rights and dignity for citizens.
Q: How do you intend to achieve that goal?
A: It will not be easy. Force will have to be applied against a system that relies on force.
Q: After the fall of the shah, how can you justify a constitutional monarchy?
A: I favor a constitutional monarchy for traditional reasons,and because of the geo-political situation in Iran. Iran consists of various ethnic groups. The monarch in Iran can serve as a symbol of unity and independence for the entire country.
Q: As you see it,what powers would a monarch have?
A: He would have a spiritual power as the guardian ofthe Constitution. He would not interfere in politics. He would not make policy.I am not for the restoration of something called a constitutional monarchy that would turn the clock back. There can be no turning the clock back. I am for a system of monarchy where the Constitution is respected to the letter.
Q: You predicted five years ago that Khomeini would fall. How has he managed to retain control in Iran?
A: By the gun. By terrorism. And by the revenue he receives from petroleum. He thrives on crisis and he frowns on stability. But he has reached a critical point. Five years agohe had a great popularity and very little power. Now he has great power but little popularity.
Q: How strong is discontent within Iran?
A: When you have a reign of terror you can’t protest in thestreets and hold rallies. But there are fights on the long queues where peoplehave to wait two hours for half a dozen eggs. We were a rich nation. Now we have rationing. Every Iranian is asking, “What has this regime done for me?” We have had 400,000 violent deaths in the past five years. Close to 1 Million people are disabled as a consequence of the Iran-Iraq war. We have 3 Million homeless and 2 million who have fled abroad. Now the regime has begun to use thousands upon thousands of school children and teenagers as cannon fodder. Nota single family has escaped untouched by Khomeini’s rule.
Q: Who are your supporters within Iran?
A: You can find them in the Army, in the bazaars, in the civil service, in the middle class and so on. They are the people who were intimidated by Khomeini. And they are the people who thought that the Islamic Republic would be something useful.
Q: Is there any possibility of forming a coalition with other opposition leaders?
A: We must distinguish between the people who have been involved in the crimes that have been committed by Khomeini. We cannot collaborate with them. But the young people who have been fanatics, or who havebeen indoctrinated, can possibly become democrats.
Q: What is your view of (former president) Abolhassan Bani Sadre, who is also now in exile?
A: He’s living in Paris but politically he is dead.
Q: What is your assessment of the war in the (Persian) Gulf?
A: It is catastrophic, horrible and endless.
Q: How do you view the Iranian position in the war?
A: Reports that Iran has half a million troops on the Iraqi border are ridiculous. There are fewer than half that many. The soldiers behind the lines are not in a good position to attack because they are not properly equipped and morale is bad.Soldiers have no wish to fight because they are no longer defending their country but are engaged in an expanding war that aims for Jerusalem via Baghdad.
Q: What happened to Iran’s expected offensive this spring?
A: There is no ammunition, no air cover, and the Army is discontented. Weather conditions are not very easy for living, let alone fighting.
Q: What role have the super powers played in the conflict?
A: Their role has been to sell arms to both sides. Thewar was not an inconvenient war as long as it was 50 miles north of the Persian Gulf. Now that may be changing.
Q: Do you foresee anend to the hostilities?
A: I hope the war can be finished as soon as possible. Atthe same time, I know Khomeini won’t allow that. He will do anything he can to continue the war because his government depends on this war. If the war ended tomorrow, he would be out of power.
Q: What would youlike the Western nations to do?
A: The West must act. All help, political and economic, must stop. That’s what I want. Without the collaboration of Western countries from the beginning, Khomeini would have left office long ago. I would like the West to see Khomeini as he is – a bloodthirsty terrorist - who has disdain for human life. It is important that the West sees that Khomeini is dangerous not onlyfor Iran but for all countries. It would be catastrophic if his so-called Islamic Republic were to be exported elsewhere.
Q: How can you be an effective opposition outside Iran?
A: Was Khomeini ineffective in Paris? I am quite readyto go back to Iran. But I must have international guarantees. No Khomeini guarantees.
Constitutionalism VS Republicanism
Pro Bakhtiar Demonstrations in support of the Constitution of 1906 (1979):
Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi meets Diaspora journalists and activists in 1990 in Portland Oregon:
Bakhtiar's last Public Speech in Hamburg Germany(1988):
Bakhtiar in his last public appearance two years before hisassassination advocates REGIME CHANGE based on RESTORATION of the 1906 Constitution
Other recommended watching:
37 days: A cautionary tale that must not be forgotten by Cyrus KADIVAR
REZA's CALL: An Iranian Solidarnosc... by Darius KADIVAR
RESPONDING TO REZA's CALL: An Iranian Solidarnosc in the Making ... by Darius KADIVAR
37 DAYS : A Cautionary Tale that Should Not be Forgotten (With Videos)
|Recently by Darius Kadivar||Comments||Date|
|TOMBSTONE: Bidding Goodbye to Iranian.com (ers)|
|Dec 05, 2012|
|ROYAL PREGNANCY: Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge Announce Pregnancy|
|Dec 04, 2012|
|DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES: Golshifteh Farahani & Sienna Miller in Road Movie ‘Just Like a Woman »|
|Dec 03, 2012|
|نسرین ستوده: زندانی روز||Dec 04|
|Saeed Malekpour: Prisoner of the day||Lawyer says death sentence suspended||Dec 03|
|Majid Tavakoli: Prisoner of the day||Iterview with mother||Dec 02|
|احسان نراقی: جامعه شناس و نویسنده ۱۳۰۵-۱۳۹۱||Dec 02|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Prisoner of the day||46 days on hunger strike||Dec 01|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Graffiti||In Barcelona||Nov 30|
|گوهر عشقی: مادر ستار بهشتی||Nov 30|
|Abdollah Momeni: Prisoner of the day||Activist denied leave and family visits for 1.5 years||Nov 30|
|محمد کلالی: یکی از حمله کنندگان به سفارت ایران در برلین||Nov 29|
|Habibollah Golparipour: Prisoner of the day||Kurdish Activist on Death Row||Nov 28|