Pahlavi Visit to Israel Stirs Hope for New Era in Iran, Middle East
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JERUSALEM, Israel – An amazing revelation unfolded in Israel this week: that Iran could potentially see a radical change in government.
On a stop in Tel Aviv during his first trip to Israel, the son of Iran's former Shah, Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, told journalists it wouldn't take foreign armies to overthrow the Tehran regime, just international support from key nations.
"I have often argued that the threat is not the gun, but the 'finger on the trigger,' Pahlavi said, rejecting the idea advanced in Washington that as Iran inches closer to a nuclear weapon and Israel considers a possible military strike, the international community can negotiate its way out of the threat.
"I have never believed that any type of negotiation with this regime – that cannot be trusted – could be a guarantee, or if you will, the "safety mechanism" on the gun. It has been, in my view, a waste of time. Investing in the alternative that the Iranian people represent is the quickest way to eliminate all threats. It's not going to be (another international agreement with Iran) in my view. It's going to be letting the Iranian people liberate themselves from this regime."
Pahlavi outlined what he thinks it would take for Iranians to rise up against the Mullahs, and how other nations could figure into regime change.
"Help the Iranian people succeed in their campaign for freedom," he urged. "Help them with technology, help them with Internet, help them with funding a strike fund to help our workers to – at the right time – go on strike. This is the quickest way and the least costly way to achieve that result. And by doing so, not only you have helped a country free itself from its oppressors, but you have also eliminated any element of threat associated with this regime."
Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel, who invited Pahlavi to visit, said Israel has high expectations about what this connection could mean for the people of Iran.
"We are already building the aid infrastructure," she said. "We are going to meet at the water desalination plant. He’s going to meet with top specialists on the subject of solutions for the drought crisis that’s very difficult and complicated and endangering the water in the area."
Gamliel believes that rather than being Iran's enemy, Israel could become an ally.
"We are going to make available the technological knowledge of the state of Israel, to show the potential in the future, to show the immediate realization. That is, it’s the vision of the Crown Prince to show another Iran that can give the answer to their population in the best way. Israel is not the problem of Iran, it's exactly the solution," Gamliel insisted.
Pahlavi points to the Abraham Accords and its impact on relations between Israel and regional Muslim states.
"When you look at the Abraham Accords and what kind of relationship it has established in the world, of where progress has been happening, and those who are stuck – whether they're in Damascus, Iran, the axis of resistance to this relationship and cooperation in the region – is the difference between night and day, and you think of the Iranian people being trapped under this regime and not partaking in that kind of opportunity is really the contrast between that," Pahlavi said. "Hopefully we'll be able to elevate the Abraham Accords to the Cyrus Accords, which will include Iran in the package once we are liberated."
Pahlavi's historic trip here began at Yad Vashem, honoring the memory of the 6 million Jews during the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony.
He also met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, prayed at the Western Wall, and visited Rabbi Leo Dee, whose wife and two daughters died in a terrorist attack earlier this month.
Pahlavi says the Iranian people have a belief that's opposed to that of the country's hostile regime.
"They (the Iranian people) are thrilled by the fact that I have had an opportunity – not just as of myself, but on their behalf, – to spread the message of how, contrary to this regime, they have no antagonism to any nation or any faith, but quite the contrary," he said.
Pahlavi believes their vision of strategic and powerful relations dates back to biblical times.
"They see a vision where, and specific to Israel, the biblical relationship that Persians have had since the time of Cyrus the Great," he said. "When I was at the Wailing Wall (in Jerusalem), the remnants of what Cyrus the Great contributed in rebuilding the Temples is still there for all to see. It is a testimony of how valuable and how durable this relationship should be."
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