From Atash/Fire, #135, February 2023, Journal of the Communist Party of Iran Marxist-Leninist-Maoist:

A “Project” Named Reza Pahlavi!: Manufacturing an Imperialist Alternative vs. Revolutionary Overthrow of the Islamic Republic!

February 6, 2023


Editors’ note: This is an excerpt from the full article, available in Farsi here. The translation is by volunteers.

The Islamic Republic must go! Thus, it is necessary to look for a replacement. However, it seems the people are yet dangerously unclear for whom, and for what reason this regime must be overthrown, and what political, economic and social system is needed to replace it. 

With the sponsorship of the U.S. imperialists, a new counter-revolutionary project and process, going by the name “Reza Pahlavi,” has been launched to shape the future regime.1 Its goal is the reorganization of the ruling class in Iran. Currently, their approach is to build a coalition of the supporters of the overthrown Shah’s regime and sections of the Islamic Republic’s military and security forces, bureaucrats and ruling mullahs. The problem is not Reza Pahlavi (the son of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi [1953-1979], absolute ruler/king/monarchy in Iran) the individual and his “past.” Reza Pahlavi has become the new anti-revolutionary spokesperson. He is the voice of those who, with the help of the imperialist powers—and especially the U.S. imperialists—are organizing around him, finding partners, taking aim at political forces that must be “neutralized” (much as what Khomeini et al did in 1979), and making populist promises about a “democratic” and “economically prosperous” future (again, just like Khomeini and his gang did in 1979)….


[There are no] guarantees that this project will be “successful.” No! There is no solid ground beneath the feet of either the Islamic Republic or the counter-revolution outside the government. The crisis in Iran is part of the pervasive crisis engulfing the entire capitalist-imperialist system. What happens on the global scene is the determining factor shaping trends within Iran. The situation in the world is very fluid, full of unpredictable developments.

For over 40 years, U.S. imperialism and the Reza Pahlavi Project have been working intellectually and practically to return to the position they once held in Iran… recruiting and training many Iranians in exile, and recruiting many former agents of the Islamic Republic. Because of a global situation that has made the conditions more volatile than ever for the U.S., and because the… Islamic Republic is being rocked by the unprecedented Mahsa Amini uprising of 2022, the rulers of U.S. imperialism have come to the conclusion that they must seize the moment, and take a chance on the “metamorphosis” of the Islamic Republic’s regime—or on its “replacement” with a regime that is united behind the U.S. The failure of U.S. projects in the Middle East over the past 25 years and the arrival of a new imperialist like China in this region has had great influence in Iran, limiting the influence of the U.S. and all U.S.-backed projects, including the Reza Pahlavi Project. Nonetheless, the Middle East is still part of the American imperialist empire and the U.S. must come up with a plan to drag Iran back into its orbit….

The most important thing U.S. imperialism expects from this project/process is to attract and recruit powerful players in the Islamic Republic, so that in the future U.S.-leaning regime it will still be possible to make use of the Islamic Republic’s governing power structures. The existence of deep divisions within the Islamic Republic’s power structure reinforces the popularity of this strategy in the think tanks of U.S. imperialism.

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1. Note from Recently, some prominent voices in the diaspora have launched a campaign to name Reza Pahlavi, the Shah’s son who lives in the U.S., as the people’s representative to lead a transition from the current theocracy (rule by religious law and authorities) to a new government: a pro-U.S. secular bourgeois democracy, based on, and linked to, the global capitalist-imperialist system.

See “Campaign To Give Power Of Attorney To Iran’s Exiled Prince Gains Momentum” at Iran International. Reza Pahlavi claims to stand for secular democracy (a government not based on religion or ruled by clerics). It is beyond the scope of this article to analyze his actual program and platform. For more, see the article Debating Iran’s Future: The Shah—Enlightened Modernizer or Fascist Butcher? [back]