The exiled son of the late shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi, warned Monday of dire consequences for the volatile Middle East and the rest of the world if the popular uprising in Iran is crushed.
The defeat of the movement protesting the outcome of presidential elections 10 days ago would not only threaten global stability but could lead to nuclear war, Pahlavi told a news conference here.
"Their defeat will encourage extremism from the shores of the Levant to the energy jugular of the world," said Pahlavi, who left Iran a year before the ouster of his father, shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in the 1979 Islamic revolution.
"At worst, fanatical tyrants who know that the future is against them may end their present course on their terms: a nuclear holocaust," Pahlavi told a room packed with reporters at the National Press Club in Washington.
Pahlavi urged Western media to continue to act as "the information artery connecting different parts of the freedom movement in Iran" by globally spreading the messages coming from the protesters inside the country.
The Iranian government has severely clamped down on foreign media coverage of the protests in Iran, which Pahlavi said were happening around the country and involve all walks of life from factory workers to academics.
Skirting the news blackout, Iranians have been sending messages and videos to news outlets or acquaintances outside the country using social networking sites, online video and photo outlets and micro-blogging source, Twitter.
Courtesy Agence France Presse.