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Former Prince of Iran Begins Historic Visit to Israel to Renew “Ancient Bond” Between the Two Nations

Reza Pahlavi attends the official Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on April 17, 2023. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)
Reza Pahlavi attends the official Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on April 17, 2023. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Iranian Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, has arrived in Israel in a celebrated visit meant to restore the "ancient bond" between the two nations, which were once strong allies before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

On Twitter, the son of the late Shah provided a statement stating that he would travel to Israel to "carry a message of peace and friendship from the Iranian people in the spirit of Cyrus the Great and to explore mutually-beneficial economic, cultural, and environmental opportunities," making mention of utilizing the state of Israel's water technology to reverse the ongoing water crisis caused by "decades of the Islamic Republic's corruption and mismanagement."

The statement also said that Pahlavi would pay his respects to the victims of the Holocaust at the official Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem.

The exiled Crown Prince is traveling together with his wife, Yasmine.

On social media, Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel praised Prince Pahlavi's and welcomed him to Israel to “renew the ties between the nations, for the sake of future generations.”

Gamliel, a member of Israeli Likud Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, described the action to visit Israel as "brave."

"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 on social media.

According to reports, Pahlavi's itinerary includes commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, talking with government officials and stopping at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where he will visit a desalination plant and meet experts in water and agriculture, as well as with members of the Baha'i community in Haifa.

Reza Pahlavi met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has raised awareness of the Islamic Republic's goal to wipe out the Jewish state and export its Islamic revolution throughout the Middle East and the world through state-sponsored terrorism.

"The Iranian and Jewish people have ancient bonds dating back to Cyrus the Great and Queen Esther," Pahlavi said in his statement, referring to the Persian king who allowed the Jews to return to Israel from exile in the 6th century BC and the Jewish heroine of the Biblical story.

"Millions of my compatriots still recall living alongside their Jewish-Iranian friends and neighbors before the Islamic Revolution tore apart the fabric of our society. They reject the regime's genocidal anti-Israel and anti-Semitic policies and yearn for cultural, scientific, and economic exchange with Israel," he said in his press release.

Intelligence Minister Gamaliel and supporters greeted Prince Pahlavi and his wife at Ben Gurion Airport where crowds began to sing the Iranian national anthem.

In response to his historic visit, individuals from pro-regime organizations and sympathetic lobbies like the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) took to social media to express disdain at his visit and meeting with the Netanyahu government.

Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran, under the Shah had strong economic and military ties with Israel, with the Shah's regime aiding the Jewish state against its Arab neighbors and Palestinian terrorists, which sought to wipe the Jewish state from existence. Under Pahlavi's grandfather, Reza Shah, Iran managed to help many Jews escape the Holocaust in Europe and find safety in Iran. During the Cold War, the Shah allowed Iranian Jews to flourish under his rule and obtained agricultural aid from Israel, generating crops and new farming techniques for his country.

Under the Iranian monarchy, Iran's Imperial Army received military training and support from Israel, collaborating on intelligence and military hardware buildup between the two countries. Iranian Generals like Manouchehr Khosrodad brought several endangered Iranian yellow deer to Israel, where today, around 300 live in Israel's Mount Carmel region.

Following the overthrow of the Iranian monarchy, the Islamic Republic created under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini revoked Iran's friendship with Israel, vowing to wipe out the Jewish state through its terrorist proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Gaza. Since 1979, Israel has had to confront the threat of Iran’s regime and its growing ambitions for a nuclear weapon, calling on the international community to sanction the Islamic Republic and not negotiate with the mullahs who seek to wipe out the Jewish state and create an Islamic-governed world.

Related Story: Why Are Iranians Reminiscing? 5 Things to Know About Life Under the Shah

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