Skip to main content

Son of Iran’s shah Pahlavi arrives in Israel on controversial visit

Reza and Yasmine Pahlavi arrived in Tel Aviv on Monday in a visit that could further fuel tension between Iran and Israel
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel meet with Reza Pahlavi, son of late Iranian Shah, Jerusalem, April 17 2023.

Reza Pahlavi, the son of late Iranian Shah, arrived in Israel on Monday on a trip that showed Israeli embrace of the Iranian figure who is seeking a regime change in his home country.

Pahlavi arrived in Israel together with his wife, Yasmine. He met later with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Upon arrival, Pahlavi said he is committed to work for peace with Israel. 

The couple was welcomed at Ben Gurion International Airport by Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel. The minister referred to Pahlavi as "the Iranian crown prince" and as "the most senior Iranian personality ever to come on a public visit to Israel." Pahlavi participated Monday evening at the official Israeli opening ceremony of Holocaust Memorial Day taking place at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center.

"We appreciate his expression of solidarity with the citizens of Israel in the face of the severe terrorist attacks perpetrated by Iran. We also appreciate his visit to Yad Vashem on the occasion of Holocaust Day,” Gamliel added.

Israel and Iran maintained close ties in the 1960s and 1970s under the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. While the two countries did not announce full diplomatic relations, an Iranian consular official was working in Israel based at the embassy of Switzerland, and Israel had economic envoys and missions based in Tehran. The two countries cooperated at the time in several domains including security, intelligence and trade. This cooperation came to its end with the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the toppling of the shah.

Announcing his visit to Israel on Sunday, Pahlavi touted his message of seeking to overthrow Iran’s rulers. “I want the people of Israel to know that the Islamic Republic does not represent the Iranian people,” he said. Over the years, he had expressed his support for normalizing ties with Israel and also his support of the 2020 Abraham Accords.

Pahlavi is expected to visit the Western Wall, the Bahai Gardens and other Bahai holy places on his trip. He will meet with senior Israeli officials and visit a desalination plant. He will also meet with representatives of the Jewish Iranian community in Israel. Since he carries no official title, his host in Israel is the Ministry of Intelligence and not the Foreign Ministry. 

Reza Pahlavi left Iran in 1979 as Crown Prince and has not returned to the country since. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in