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Son of Iran’s Last Shah Set to Make First Visit to Israel

Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran's toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, holds a news conference in Paris, June 7, 2006. AP
Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran’s toppled Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, holds a news conference in Paris, June 7, 2006. AP

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.

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