Son of late Iran shah voices solidarity with Ukraine over drones
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The son of Iran's late shah on Thursday voiced solidarity with Ukrainians who have suffered from Russian-fired drones allegedly sold by Tehran and urged new, tough action against the clerical regime.
"Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people who are defending their sovereignty," Reza Pahlavi told reporters after delivering an address from his home in exile in Washington on protests that have swept Iran.
"We accuse the Islamic regime of not only having completely destroyed our freedom," he said, but "now it is also cooperating with those who are putting at risk another nation's sovereignty."
The European Union and Britain on Thursday finalized sanctions on three Iranian generals and an arms firm over the drones in Ukraine, which killed five people in Kyiv on Monday and have destroyed power stations and other vital civilian infrastructure.
US and European officials say they have evidence that Russia has bought low-cost Iranian drones that explode on impact. Russia and Iran at a Security Council session called by Western nations Wednesday both denied that the drones came from Tehran.
Pahlavi said there was little question that Iran's clerical state, which replaced his father's Western-oriented monarchy following the 1979 revolution, has meddled around the world.
"The question isn't what the Iranian regime is doing. The question is how will the world react and whether it will take clear action to condemn the regime's actions through sanctions with painful consequences," he said.
He called international pressure "a win-win -- the only one who stands to lose is the Islamic regime and we don't care about that."
Pahlavi advocates the formation of a secular democracy in Iran and not necessarily the restoration of the centuries-old monarchy, an option that has limited appeal inside the country.
In his address, Pahlavi said that Iranians have "inspired the admiration of the world" through more than one month of protests triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the notorious "morality police," which enforces dress codes for women.
"Your movement has also crippled the regime's propaganda and narrative formation machine," Pahlavi said.
"They wanted women to be slaves to men but you, Iran's women, with the support of your husbands, brothers, fathers and sons have started the first women's revolution in history."
Pahlavi said he has made progress in working internationally to create a fund to assist Iranians who want to go on strike, although he said details were still being arranged.
Pahlavi reiterated calls on world powers to expel Iranian ambassadors and to stop negotiating with the clerical state, following months of failed efforts to restore a 2015 nuclear deal.