Sunday, September 18, 2005

Reza Pahlavi on Fareed

Does the name "Reza Pahlavi" ring any bells? If you're over 40, it certainly should, although the name you would've heard a quarter century ago was "Mohammed Reza Shah." Reza Pahlavi is the son of the former Shah of Iran, which gives him a unique perspective on Iranian politics, and he was the guest on today's episode of Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria.

There's a line in the film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure in which Bill S. Preston, Esquire, says of George Carlin's character, "Listen to this dude Rufus: he knows what he's talking about!" That's about how I feel about Fareed Zakaria.

Reza Pahlavi is no friend of the theocratic regime in Iran, but neither is he an apologist for his father's autocracy: he is an advocate for democracy and human rights. He makes a strong case for the outside world to pressure Iran to move towards freedom, much like the world pressured South Africa to abandon apartheid and pressured the Soviet Union to abandon totalitarian state control. He compares allowing the current Iranian government, with its established ties to international terrorism, access to nuclear technology, to giving car keys to a drunk. The car keys themselves are not evil, but in the hands of a drunk driver they can be deadly.