Prince Reza Pahlavi: Navid Afkari’s Death Was 'A Message By Regime'
In an article in Wall Street Journal on Monday, exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi said the goal of Navid Afkari’s execution was to quash dissent through violence and fear, and asked the international community to stand with the Iranian people in their future protests instead of continued engagement with the regime.
After torturing Afkari for months and forcing him to confess to murdering a security guard, the regime sentenced him to death. A domestic and international outcry followed, but on Saturday Afkari, 27, was executed.
Prince Reza Pahlavi stated in the article: “As is common under the Islamic Republic, Afkari’s case lacked any semblance of justice. There is a consensus that Afkari wasn’t merely the victim of an unjust judicial process but the target of deliberate assassination intended to silence public protest through sheer terror.”
“By killing a star athlete in defiance of international condemnation, the regime communicated an unmistakable message to Iranians: Protest and we will kill you, no matter who you are,” the article continued.
It went on to say that to the regime is reminding the international community of a famous saying by its founder, Ruhollah Khomeini, during the 1979-81 hostage crisis: “You can’t do a damn thing.”
Mr. Pahlavi reminded the international community that the past 41 years of the Islamic Republic regime is filled with murders and “countless Navid Afkaris,” and that the regime doesn’t limit its repression to Iran’s dissidents and protesters, but it systematically targets their families — requiring relatives to pay for their lifeless bodies, often charging them for the bullets used.
He added: “Many in the West continue to insist on engagement with, and normalization of, the Islamic Republic. Calls to “trust” or “reform” Nazi Germany, or to “moderate” the apartheid regime in South Africa, would never have been taken so seriously for so long.” Adding: “To believe still, in the face of overwhelming countervailing evidence, that this regime can come to behave like a normal government is absurd. It damages the credibility of Western democracies and international organizations.”
He also reminded world governments that the “officials of the Islamic Republic aren’t legitimate representatives of the people they oppress and murder,” and that “it’s time for leaders in the free world to recognize this and look instead to the Iranian people for dialogue and partnership.”
Prince Reza Pahlavi concluded: “The mullahs believe that monstrous violence will quash dissent and stave off resistance, but they are wrong. The Iranian people are more committed than ever to turning the page on this dark chapter in Iran’s history. For every Navid Afkari the regime takes, dozens more Iranians join the struggle for liberty and democracy.”
He urged the governments of the free world: “When the people of Iran take to the streets again to call for an end to the Islamic Republic — and inevitably they will — the free world must stand with them.”