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Son of Iran's Shah urges civil disobedience.

Summary: Iran's former crown prince backed a campaign of "civil disobedience and non-violence" Saturday to oust the government in Tehran and urged Western support, but warned against any armed

Iran's former crown prince backed a campaign of "civil disobedience and non-violence" Saturday to oust the government in Tehran and urged Western support, but warned against any armed intervention.

"The end of the apartheid regime in South Africa, of military juntas in South America, of the former Soviet Union -- all of it came at the hands of the people of those nations themselves," Reza Pahlavi told the Daily Telegraph.

"None of this could have happened without foreign support, but that is not the same as an occupying army that comes in and changes a regime -- I don't see how that can ever be legitimate."

The son of the late shah added: "Change must come to Iran by civil disobedience and non-violence, I stress that. We can't have change at any cost... what happens must be the will of the people."

Pahlavi left Iran a year before his father, Shah Mohammad Reza, was ousted in the 1979 Islamic revolution, and has lived in the United States since 1984.

Only internal pressure will work

As more protests were held this week on the streets of Tehran, he told the Telegraph that "the ingredients for change have reached almost boiling point, despite the attempts of the regime to crack down".

And he argued that internal pressure was the only kind that would work on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over Iran's nuclear program, which Western powers fear is aimed at creating nuclear weapons, something Tehran denies.

"The threat from their own people is the only leverage that will matter, on the nuclear issue especially, much more so than endless rounds of failing diplomacy," Pahlavi said.

However, he said the international community must show their support for the protesters challenging Ahmadinejad's regime.

"If they are holding up signs in English on the streets of Tehran it is not to practice their language skills, it is obviously meant for the outside world," he said.

If this support is not forthcoming, "we may as well run up the white flag on the nuclear threat. We have a window of opportunity", he said, adding that for people in Israel this was a "matter of life and death".

Over 100 people detained

Meanwhile Tehran's police chief said on Saturday that police arrested 109 people during opposition protests on the sidelines of an official demonstration marking three decades since the seizure of the U.S. embassy.

"A hundred and nine people were arrested. Forty-seven were released on bail and 62 are in prison and their files are with the judicial authorities," General Azizollah Rajabzadeh was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.

None of this could have happened without foreign support, but that is not the same as an occupying army that comes in and changes a regime -- I don't see how that can ever be legitimateMirhossein Mousavi in Tehran on Wednesday when an annual state-organized rally marking the 30th anniversary of the storming of the U.S. embassy turned violent.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards and their allied Basij militia had warned the opposition not to try to hijack the rally to revive protests against the clerical establishment after June's disputed presidential election.

Defeated presidential candidates Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, who say they are committed to reform, had urged supporters to take to the streets on Wednesday to protest against the government despite warnings from the security forces about "illegal gatherings".

Security forces arrested an Agence France Presse (AFP) reporter along with a Danish student in connection with the rally.

The semi-official Fars news agency said on Friday that two foreign journalists also had been arrested on Nov. 4. The report could not be confirmed independently.

Foreign media have been banned from covering street protests since the demonstrations over the disputed June presidential vote, which the opposition says was rigged to secure President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election.

The turmoil after the June 12 vote was the worst in Iran in the past three decades. Authorities deny vote-rigging.

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Publication:Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia)
Date:Nov 6, 2009
Words:692
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