Whose Side is Iran on?

This partial transcript from Hannity & Colmes, October 9, 2001 was provided by the Federal Document Clearing House.

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ALAN COLMES/HOST: Welcome back to HANNITY & COLMES. I'm Alan Colmes.

Iran's supreme leader has condemned the attacks on Afghanistan, calling America's real intention imperialism. At the same time, Iran opposes the Taliban and supports the Northern Alliance. So whose side is Iran on?

Joining us now in Washington, the exiled heir to the throne of Iran, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi.

Prince, good to have you with us.


COLMES: What's your reaction? What side is Iran on, and what side should they be on?

PAHLAVI: You know, there's a lot of confusion in Teheran today, principally because the regime is faced with a political dilemma. Let me explain to you why. On the one hand, clearly, the clerical regime wants to see an end to the Taliban only to be able to have a proxy next door that they could control, which is not currently the case. On the other hand, any democratic outcome in Afghanistan will be an unwelcome change next door, which will then put the pressure back on themselves. And that's the last thing they~ want to see happen.

COLMES: Now, the president, Khatami, has called for the immediate end to all U.S. military strikes against Afghanistan. He says Afghanistan has a legal government that's represented the United Nations, and that's who we should be dealing with to make any changes we want to make. Does that make any sense?

PAHLAVI: Well, the Taliban is a bullish regime that has so far put the people of Afghanistan in a very dire situation. And I think this is a case where we have to separate the people of a given nation a from their unpopular, oppressive ruling regimes. The Taliban has clearly demonstrated that it has no respect for human life and has certainly demonstrated its ability to finance and support the bin Ladens of this world. In this case, there's no question that the world focus should be brought on the need for the Afghan people to inherit a government of their choice and do away with a government that has brought nothing but misery for them.

COLMES: How secure is Iran's regime? I know that you are an heir -- you're the son of the shah of Iran. You would probably like to go back. You would like to assume power yourself, I presume, at some -- you look forward to that day.

PAHLAVI: Alan, this is not about me or about the past. It is about the future of the Iranian people, like their Afghan brethrens, to have a right to self-determination and unalienable rights that they ought to have. Clearly, the clerical regime has stood against them. And once again, we have to define the line and separate the people of my country from their oppressive clerical regime.

COLMES: Iran is claiming that we're using terrorism as a pretext to have a long-term presence in that part of the world, to be imperialistic, to inflict, in their terminology, our own policies, and in a sense, have great Western influence. Is that your view?

PAHLAVI: Well, the clerical regime has reason to be paranoid, but I don't think the people of Iran would be, in this case. They recognize that democratic nations in this world have been often supportive of any movement in respective countries that culminated with the people of that nation ultimately gaining self-determination. We've seen it from South Africa to Nicaragua to Poland to everywhere else in the world, and hopefully, we'll see it in our part of the world, as well.

The big question here -- and that's what I have to say to the international community, the United States of America included -- that a time has come to draw the distinction. And for 23 years of having dealt

with the clerical regime, the time has come to bring focus on the people of Iran and assist the people by giving them moral support, so they can, in turn, feel safe about the fact they can indeed move towards that direction and have the support of the international community.

HANNITY: Prince Pahlavi, welcome to the program. We appreciate you being here tonight. For those -- there may be some that don't know. you are the son of the late shah of Iran. And I want to ask you specifically -- and you wrote the world should be wary of Mr. Khatami, and you talked about his inescapable track record, including inspiring, funding, training and harboring of known terrorists and militant organizations in an op-ed piece that you had put together. If that's the case and America is at war

against terrorism, then America, by definition, would be at war with the Iranian government. Is that what you'd like to see or is that what you would support?

PAHLAVI: Let's separate two things together. The particular events surrounding the September 11th attack are clearly an attack that was brought from what we all concern from the bin Laden organization. Iran has yet to be officially implicated in this particular matter.

HANNITY: Well...

PAHLAVI: Number two, again, as I said, there has to be a distinction between the people of Iran and the regime. And ultimately, I will never want to see, and it pains, as an Iranian, to ever contemplate the

possibility that my country could come under attack.


PAHLAVI: I hope it will never come to that.

HANNITY: But -- but if, by definition -- what -- you are describing state-sponsored terrorism of Iran, and you don't dispute that. And if...


HANNITY: If the president of the United States says you're either for us or you're against us -- they have spoken out against us and our response to the September 11th attack. And by your admission, they are responsible for state-sponsored terrorism, then we are then also at war with Iran, or we would be within our rights, if want to root out terrorism, to finish the job and topple Mr. Khatami and others.

PAHLAVI: It is correct that, unfortunately, the clerical regime has been directly associated with elements, where it has, in fact, been the element that has brought this radicalism and extremism to our part of the world in the first place.


PAHLAVI: They have been financing terrorist organizations. They have been harboring, in fact training, terrorists in Iran. And as I challenged a few weeks ago the regime in Teheran -- in fact, Mr. Khatami -- if we were to believe in their sincerity, first and foremost, why don't they put immediately an end to this support? Why don't they close down all those camps in Iran?


PAHLAVI: Why don't they expel all those terrorists and promise never again to hold a conference of all of the most extreme radical groups in Teheran, as they did last spring?


PAHLAVI: And most importantly, stop their terrorism against the Iranian people.


PAHLAVI: I think that, in terms of credibility, the regime in Iran has long lost that. And as I said before...


PAHLAVI: ... the time has come to let the people of Iran...

HANNITY: Well...

PAHLAVI: ... overcome the situation, and that's what I stand for, support for the Iranian people to self-determination.

HANNITY: Well, I agree with you, and I support you in that endeavor. And as you pointed out in your op-ed, 50 million of Iran's 70 million population are 30 and under. So I mean, certainly, things -- things can change and shift rather quickly, as we witnessed over the years.

But just in the short time we have left, I want to ask you specifically about life under an extremist, fanatical regime such as the Taliban and what we have watched and witnessed under the -- for example,

the -- starting with the Ayatollah Khomeini, and so on and so forth. Just quickly, what is their goal? What is -- is it world -- that they want to become the world's governing power, ultimately?

PAHLAVI: Well, it's obviously a utopian dream of having revolutionary Islam sort of rule the whole world. That was from the perspective of someone like Khomeini. From the perspective of my own compatriots, I can tell you that as much as we appreciate our cultural values, including our religious heritage, the appreciation for secular democracy is at its strongest today among the emerging youth of Iran. And that is clearly the message they are sending us by demonstrating, first and foremost, their sympathy to America by condemning this terrorist attack...


PAHLAVI: ... but by sending a message of...

COLMES: Prince...

PAHLAVI: ... freedom.

COLMES: We're out of time. Thank you, Prince Pahlavi, for being with us.

PAHLAVI: Thank you, Sean.


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