Radiofarda -A group of young Iranians in exile announced the formation of a political group committed to regime change in their homeland, September 17. The group, called Farashgard (Revival), presents itself as young and secular, and calls for democratic liberal democracy in Iran.
Forty young scholars and political activists signed a statement affirming their support for the group. In an exclusive interview with Radio Farda’s Elahe Ravanshad, one signatory, Damon Golriz, spoke about why he supports this new movement.
Radio Farda: The Islamic Republic has been with us for almost four decades. Why are you founding this group now?
Damon Golriz: Iran is in a critical situation today. After forty years of the dominance of a politically and economically bankrupt establishment over Iran, we see that neither foreign governments, nor the Islamic Republic’s government are capable of addressing the country’s numerous crises. It appears that the Islamic Republic’s system is politically and economically collapsing. Meanwhile, a national movement is gaining momentum to fundamentally change Iran. One of Farashgard’s aims is boosting that, and on the basis of respect for human rights, to help the transition from the current system to a secular, liberal, and democratic one with the help of Iran’s diaspora community. The process requires regime change since the so-called “reformist” camp has proved to be incapable of meeting the nation’s aspirations.
Radio Farda: What do you propose to replace the regime with?
Golriz: The alternative will be decided by the will of the people and ballots, which is what Iranians have been seeking for more than a century; i.e. the rule of law, a liberal democratic establishment elected by the majority that respects minority rights. [The alternative] is a government based on human rights, especially one that is secular.
Iranians deserve democracy, but a national will is needed to achieve it. We saw how the whole Islamic establishment was shocked during last December’s widespread anti-regime protests. The Islamic Republic establishment, under outside pressures, and because of its corrupt and poor structure, has been incapable of addressing the country’s problems. This is why support for change is growing.
Radio Farda: You have mentioned Prince Reza Pahlavi as a key personality in your activities. What role is he going to play for Farashgard?
Golriz: As a linchpin to combine all parts of the Iranian society; as a person in charge of bringing people’s hearts together. The majority of people inside Iran, as well as many elite figures in and outside the country, pay homage to his father and grandfather. Therefore, Prince Reza Pahlavi’s role for replacing the current establishment with a democratic one is quite crucial.
Radio Farda: In your statement you called upon people who have not supported the Islamic Republic’s establishment through the past four decades to come forward and assist you in changing the regime. Are you excluding those who have supported the regime in the past?
Golriz: We want to be the voice of regime change, the voice that chants, “We will take back Iran.”Nevertheless, we have drawn a redline between Farashgard and those who still support Red and Black (Marxist and Religious) reactionary movements.
Damon Golriz is a lecturer at The Hague University of Applied Sciences and researcher at the research group International Peace, Justice and Security. He was the initiator of the desalination project in 2014 that led to research, innovation, prototyping and co-founding of The Hague Humanitarian Center for Water.