National Security

Interview With An Iranian Patriot

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JJ Bakhtiari Speaks About Regime Change And Freedom For The Iranian People

J. J. Bakhtiari is the great great grandson of Najaf-Goli Samsam al-Saltane, the Prime Minister of Iran from 1911 to 1913 and the leader of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution. He is also the grandson of the last Prime Minister of the Shah in 1979, Dr. Shapour Baktiar. Shapour Bakhtiar and his secretary were murdered in France by agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1991. J. J. Bakhtiari was interviewed by Sam Faddis, Senior Editor for AND Magazine. J.J. Bakhtiari's comments are his own and he is not speaking for any group or organization. He is a secular and democratic Iranian who looks forward to the overthrow of the Ayatollahs and the liberation of Iran.

SAM How would you characterize what is happening in Iran right now?

JJ The social unrest and anti-government demonstrations currently being witnessed throughout Iran clearly demonstrate anger, frustration and contempt not only for Mr. Rouhani's "moderate" government but the regime as a whole.

SAM What are the root causes of the unrest?

JJ The root causes clearly date back to the beginning of the revolution. Khomeini's return from exile in 1979 falsely signaled the commencement of a golden Islamic era for Iran. The dreaded SAVAK, the Shah's brutal secret police was dismantled and a new breed of bloodthirsty revolutionary guardians would restore law and order. The outlandish promises of free electricity and the sharing of the oil and gas revenues among all Iranians unfortunately seduced the masses. The messiah from Paris promised true independence, freedom and prosperity. Once the Ayatollahs had established a complete military and economic stranglehold on the country, the corruption, murders and a non-existent economic plan revealed the true colors of a fascist theocracy. For decades Iranians knew that they had been lied to but the rule of fear paralyzed protests, especially when the regime's barbaric public executions became frequent.

SAM What is causing people to turn against the ayatollahs? Were the people ever really in support of them?

JJ The Ayatollah''s claim that after the 1979 revolution, a general referendum further cemented their rule. However, this is a myth for people who were mostly clueless as to the true "identity" of the doctrine being introduced. The crowds voted by marching, not thinking. Yes, originally the anti-Shah voices were all united and the human waves were unstoppable. They truly believed that they were being lead to the gardens of Eden, but a brutal Islamic despotic life embraced the land of my fathers.

SAM What should the United States and European nations be doing?

JJ President Trump is delivering on his promises against the Iranian regime. Many Iranians have already felt the pinch since the US withdrawal from the JCPOA back in the month of May. The Iranian Rial is in free fall, losing fifty percent of its value in the past six months. The US must continue to ensure that the current draconian sanctions are not being circumvented by the usual suspects such as China, Russia, Turkey and India. As for the Europeans, simple economics will dampen their activities with the Ayatollahs. The current transatlantic trade war is a stern warning to Europe that the US is no longer picking up all the bills. I don't believe that a single European leader could take the phenomenal financial risk of ignoring the White House. They will soon turn their backs on the Ayatollahs. All in all, Europe has been a huge disappointment by never bringing the welfare or the basic concept of human rights into negotiations and currently they're confused.

SAM How have the ayatollahs stayed in power so long?

JJ It's no secret that Iran ranks second in the world in natural gas reserves and fourth in proven crude oil reserves. Economic activity and government revenues still depend primarily on the exportation of oil and gas. This is the derivative following four decades of failed economic policies and high corruption at all levels of government. Despite all the financial and social failures, the regime still breaths thanks to an iron fist rule with an amalgamation of international terrorism orchestrated by the indispensable revolutionary guards, the IRGC. Once again Russia's military aid and China's economic ties have delivered oxygen to Iran's fragile and one dimensional economy. And lastly the Mullahs have enjoyed decades of unchallenged rule without accountability, transparency or opposition. The Ayatollahs have mastered the art of making lies sound truthful and murder respectable.

SAM How is regime change possible?

JJ The current sanctions need to be monitored with an eagle eye by the Americans. Mr. Trump will be unpopular with the Ayatollahs and some Iranians but in the long run, they'll understand that freedom is priceless. I'm gambling on the fact that the Europeans will soon turn their backs on the Mullahs because of "permanent interest". Regime change is only possible with a strong, well financed and charismatic leader.

SAM What is the state of the Iranian opposition outside Iran?

JJ My answer to the question is embarrassing since none of the current opposition movements are embraced by the demonstrators on the streets of Tehran or elsewhere in the country. The current flirtations between Mr. Bolton and the MEK are clearly erroneous. The latter's indisputable and inexcusable collaborations with Sadam Hussein against the Iranian army will never be forgotten or forgiven. I believe the US administration will realize that the only individual that can maneuver inside such a perilous odyssey to freedom in Iran is Reza Pahlavi, the legitimate crown Prince. He has incessantly embraced many quintessential democratic accolades such as secularism, universal suffrage, freedom of speech and the press. He acknowledges that only a constitutional monarchy would see him as king! I have never met the man but I'm impressed with the rhetoric and probity.

SAM What should that opposition be doing right now?

JJ The simple answer is unite, strategize and remain vigilant. In my opinion only Reza Pahlavi is capable of such a monumental undertaking. His identity will play a pivotal role in the minds of millions of Iranians. A constitutional monarchy in the Persian Gulf will be a first.

SAM Do you think the key advisers around Donald Trump understand Iran and what to do?

JJ Mr. Trump has assembled "the best team" in his opinion. However, Ali Khamenie and Kim Jong Un are two different beasts with different mindsets, and I hope Mr. Bolton is made aware of that. Any derogatory remarks about the Iranians will further distance the masses from the Trump administration. My humble advice to Mr. Trump is to remember that the median age in Iran is only 30. These men and women have only known the tyrannical rule of the Mullahs. Today partly thanks to the Internet, they want a free secular society where there is a clear separation between religion and state alongside an independent judiciary. Iranians want to improve their daily lives and hope for a better life for future generations. I believe Mr. Trump will see the light and see a free Iran as a beacon and asset to the Middle East and indeed to the world.

SAM If you could sit down with President Trump and advise him regarding US Iran policy what would you say?

JJ First, I would ask him to respect Iran for its ancient traditions and values. It will take many years to clean the blood and tears from Persian soil and to redress the economy. Second, as a businessman he can see the potential of a vibrant and democratic Iran irrespective of the oil and gas. Third, I would ask him to support the individual or organization that will be chosen vocally to lead Iran during the harrowing transition period until full and verifiable free elections are held.

SAM When you and I sit down in a Free Tehran and have a drink who is buying?

JJ The mayor of Tehran!

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Updated Sep 17, 2018 4:04 AM EDT | More details

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