The son of Iran’s last monarch is appealing to U.S. President Donald Trump to distinguish between the Iranian people and their Islamist rulers as the president considers whether to impose new restrictions on immigration to the United States.
In an exclusive studio interview with VOA’s Persian Service, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi said Iranians are sensitive to being “confused” with an Iranian government long accused by Washington of sponsoring global terrorism.
“Nothing hurts us more as Iranians — every time the name of Iran comes up, they say, Iran — terrorism.’ It’s not Iran and Iranians, it’s the regime,” said Pahlavi, who leads the Iran National Council for Free Elections opposition group. “Many Iranians [also] have been victims of the regime … that’s why I think it’s important to make a clear distinction [between them] … to make sure you don’t paint everyone with the same brush.”
The Iranian crown prince expressed his concerns about Trump’s January 27 travel ban on Iranians in a January 31 letter to the president.
In the letter, he also urged the U.S. to play a “pivotal role” in supporting what he called the Iranian people’s “quest for liberty and justice” in their homeland. Pahlavi has long called for free elections in Iran to bring about a transition from clerical rule to a democratic and secular government that he believes would bring peace to the region.
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