Son of last Iranian Shah to visit Israel for Holocaust Remembrance Day

Exiled Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, son of last Iranian Shah announced on Sunday that he will visit Israel this week to attend the annual Holocaust memorial ceremony on Monday. Amid tense relations between Iran and Israel, Pahlavi’s trip highlights the warmth that existed between the countries under his father’s rule and emphasizes the stark contrast with the current animosity.

Pahlavi, son of the last shah before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, plans to deliver “a message of friendship from the Iranian people.” Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel, who will host Pahlavi, praised his “brave decision” to visit the country. She emphasized that Pahlavi’s leadership represents peace and tolerance, as opposed to the extremist regime currently governing Iran.

In addition to attending the Holocaust memorial ceremony, Pahlavi will visit a desalination plant, the Western Wall, and meet with local Bahai community representatives and Israeli Jews of Iranian descent. Pahlavi, who left Iran just before the revolution and now resides in the US, has called for a peaceful revolution to establish a parliamentary monarchy, protect human rights, and modernize Iran’s economy.

Although it remains unclear whether Pahlavi can garner enough support for a return to power, his visit to Israel signifies a willingness to rebuild the relationship between the two nations. Pahlavi has expressed his desire to “rekindle the ancient bond” between Israel and Iran, stating that the Islamic Republic does not represent the Iranian people.

Image Credit: AP Photo/Jacques Brinon, File