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.