The National / April 16, 2023
The exiled leader will meet Israeli officials and members of his country’s diaspora.
Former Iranian crown prince Reza Pahlavi is going to Israel to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, he announced on Sunday, amid tense Iranian-Israeli relations.
Mr Pahlavi is expected to be in Israel for Yom HaShoah on Monday and is planning to attend the official Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem.
The statement announcing his visit described Mr Pahlavi as “the most prominent Iranian to visit Israel in history”.
He will hold meetings with officials and leaders about politics, the Iranian diaspora and water and agricultural technology.
“I want the people of Israel to know that the Islamic Republic does not represent the Iranian people,” Mr Pahlavi said in a Twitter post.
“The ancient bond between our people can be rekindled for the benefit of both nations. I’m going to Israel to play my role in building toward that brighter future.”
There have been concerns of rising tensions between the two countries in recent in recent months, with concerns of war.
Meanwhile, Iran has continued its uranium enrichment efforts after failed nuclear deal discussions.
Mr Pahlavi says he’s being hosted by Israeli Minister of Intelligence Gila Gamliel, who will accompany him to the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
She tweeted, “looking forward hosting you in Israel dear @pahlavireza and starting to build bridges between our nations”, ahead of his visit.
Mr Pahlavi, the son of former shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is exiled as an opposition figure.
He was the last crown prince and heir to the throne when the 1979 Iranian Revolution occurred.
Mr Pahlavi has called for a parliamentary democracy in Iran.
He also spread messages of unity during anti-government protests in the country in the past six months.
Mr Pahlavi “will deliver remarks outlining his vision for an Iranian democracy that celebrates freedoms of speech and religion, safeguards human rights, protects its natural resources, and invests its treasure in Iranian people rather than foreign terrorist groups,” his statement said.
His trip will also focus on meeting Israeli experts on water technology, where Mr Pahlavi said he hopes to learn from their work and experience to help address Iran’s water crisis.
Son of Iran’s last shah set to make first visit to Israel
AP / April 16, 2023
JERUSALEM – Iran’s exiled crown prince is scheduled to come to Israel this week on a visit that reflects the warm ties his father once had with Israel and the current state of hostility between Israel and the Islamic Republic.
Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last shah to rule Iran before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, said Sunday that he will be delivering “a message of friendship from the Iranian people.”
He is set to participate in Israel’s annual Holocaust memorial ceremony on Monday night, said Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel, who will host him. He is also set to visit a desalination plant, see the Western Wall and meet representatives of the local Bahai community and Israeli Jews of Iranian descent, she said.
Gamliel praised the “brave decision” by Pahlavi to make what she said would be his first visit to Israel. “The crown prince symbolizes a leadership different from that of the ayatollah regime, and leads values of peace and tolerance, in contrast to the extremists who rule Iran,” she said.
Pahlavi left Iran at age 17 for military flight school in the U.S., just before his cancer-stricken father Mohammad Reza Pahlavi abandoned the throne for exile. The revolution followed, with the creation of the Islamic Republic, the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the sweeping away of the last vestiges of the American-backed monarchy.
Pahlavi, who still resides in the U.S., has called for a peaceful revolution that would replace clerical rule with a parliamentary monarchy, enshrine human rights and modernize its state-run economy.
Whether he can galvanize support for a return to power is unknown. His father ruled lavishly and repressively and benefitted from a CIA-supported coup in 1953. The late shah also had close diplomatic and military ties with Israel.
That ended in 1979, when the Iranian revolution’s leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, declared Israel an “enemy of Islam” and cut all ties. Today, the countries are arch-enemies. Israel considers Iran to be its greatest threat, citing the country’s calls for Israel’s destruction, its support of hostile militant groups on Israel’s borders and its nuclear program. Iran denies accusations by Israel and its western allies that it is pursuing a nuclear bomb.