Former Iranian crown prince Reza Pahlavi visits Israel for Holocaust Remembrance Day

Exiled leader will meet Israeli officials and compatriots

Reza Pahlavi at a ceremony marking Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Jerusalem. AFP
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Former Iranian crown prince Reza Pahlavi arrived in Israel on Monday to attend a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony and hold talks with Israeli officials, amid tense relations between the two nations.

Mr Pahlavi was welcomed by Minister of Intelligence Gila Gamliel, who posted a photo on Twitter of herself at the airport with the former Iranian royal and his wife, Yasmine.

"Together, we will renew the ties between the nations, for the sake of future generations," Ms Gamliel wrote before the Yom HaShoah ceremony.

"We are very happy to be here and are dedicated to working toward the peaceful and prosperous future that the people of our region deserve," Mr Pahlavi said in a Twitter post announcing his arrival.

A statement released before his arrival described Mr Pahlavi as “the most prominent Iranian to visit Israel in history”.

He will hold meetings with officials and leaders about politics, the Iranian diaspora and water and agricultural technology.

“I want the people of Israel to know that the Islamic Republic does not represent the Iranian people,” Mr Pahlavi said in a Twitter post before his visit.

“The ancient bond between our people can be rekindled for the benefit of both nations. I’m going to Israel to play my role in building toward that brighter future.”

There have been concerns about rising tensions between the two countries in recent months, with concerns of war.

Meanwhile, Iran has continued its uranium enrichment efforts after failed nuclear deal discussions.

Mr Pahlavi, the son of former shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, is exiled as an opposition figure.

He was the last crown prince and heir to the throne when the 1979 Iranian Revolution occurred.

Mr Pahlavi has called for parliamentary democracy in Iran.

He also spread messages of unity during anti-government protests in the country in the past six months.

Mr Pahlavi “will deliver remarks outlining his vision for an Iranian democracy that celebrates freedoms of speech and religion, safeguards human rights, protects its natural resources, and invests its treasure in Iranian people rather than foreign terrorist groups,” his statement said.

His trip will also focus on meeting Israeli experts on water technology, where Mr Pahlavi said he hopes to learn from their work and experience to help address Iran's water crisis.

Updated: April 18, 2023, 6:36 AM