JERUSALEM (AP) — The exiled son of the toppled shah of Iran called on Israel not to bomb his home country, but rather to help the opposition to the ruling system, in an interview aired Monday on Israeli television.
Prince Reza Pahlavi told Israel's Channel 10 TV from his home in Washington that bombing Iran would play into the hands of the regime. Instead, he appealed for help saying the Jewish state should put its "technological, financial and other resources at our disposal."
Pahlavi's father, the late Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, had close ties to Israel before he was ousted in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The clerical hierarchy is now headed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
"The best thing you can do for the regime is to tell that, 'We are going to attack you,' or in fact attack you," he said. "You will be giving Khamenei and all his clique, when they have no answers anymore to the country's ills, the greatest gift of all by doing that. That is just crazy. That just doesn't make sense."
Israel, along with much of the West, believes that Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon. The Israelis fear a nuclear Iran would threaten its existence.
Israel has left open the option of attacking Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail. A new round of talks between the West and Iran are set to begin this week in Turkey. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Pahlavi called the current Iranian regime "fanatic," but said real Iranians would appreciate Israeli assistance rather than a strike against the nuclear sites, which he said could lead to all-out war in the region.
"Who in this planet doesn't know that there is a military option, but are there other options?" he said. "The best option is to utilize the best army in the world in place ready to strike, which is the Iranian people themselves. And if you don't help that, God help us all."