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WASHINGTON: Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran’s last shah, believes the clerical state that toppled his father is on the brink of crumbling. What Iranians need now, he says, is stronger support from the West.

As ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in Tuesday as the eighth president of the Islamic republic, Pahlavi, who lives in exile near Washington, pointed to an election turnout rate of 48.8 percent, the lowest since the 1979 revolution, as well as demonstrations first triggered by serious water shortages.

“Is the regime fragmented, is it fragile, is it bordering on the precipice? Yes it is, but like anything else, if you throw them a lifeline, they’ll catch a second breath and survive a bit,” he told AFP in an interview.

“We have an opportunity to put the final nail in the coffin. And we’re not asking the world to do that for us; the people of Iran want to do it, but they need some help.” He said Western nations should support technology to circumvent internet restrictions in Iran, disinvest from the state and develop a “strike fund” to support workers who wage nonviolent civil disobedience. Pahlavi, like many others, has spoken before of the regime crumbling. But he insisted this time was different as forces are “just killing people,” including “young people who are thirsty and seeking their rights.”

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