Israel this week played host to a very unusual delegation, at least considering the current atmosphere in the Middle East. Six Iranian ex-patriates and four former Trump Administration officials (one of them Iranian by birth) touched down in the Jewish state on Monday for what they called the “Cyrus-Israel Mission.”
Following the success of the Abraham Accords, there’s a growing advocacy to facilitate a “Cyrus Accords,” a future peace and normalization agreement between Israel and Iran.
It should be remembered that before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Israel and Iran were close regional allies.
The folks behind the Institute for Voices of Liberty (iVOL) believe it’s possible to turn back the clock.
“We are here as descendants of Cyrus the Great to distinguish between the people of Iran and the regime of [the Islamic Republic of Iran], to tell the people of Israel that our nation wishes to live in peace with you, to renew the ties of friendship that existed between our two nations for 1000’s of years,” tweeted iVOL director and co-chair of this week’s delegation, Dr. Amir Hamidi.
We are here as descendants of Cyrus the Great to distinguish between the people of Iran and the regime of IRI, to tell the people of Israel that our nation wishes to live in peace with you, to renew the ties of friendship that existed between our two nations for 1000’s of years. pic.twitter.com/YrtYs1cyJQ
— Amir Hamidi, Ph. D. (@Dr_Amir_Hamidi) July 21, 2021
The goal of Dr. Hamidi and his organization is to help free Iran from the repressive rule of the ayatollahs. They came to Israel to stand in solidarity with the Jewish state following the recent Gaza war in May, and in light of the fact that Israel was attacked by terror groups financed and facilitated by the Islamic Republic, namely Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
It is important to iVOL that Israelis will know that while the regime in Tehran is an enemy, the people of Iran are not.
Co-leading the delegation was Adam Lovinger, a former senior director at the National Security Council under President Trump. The other former Trump Administration officials on the trip were:
- Iranian-born Ellie Cohanim, former US Deputy Special Envoy to Combat Antisemitism;
- Len Khodorkovsky, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Senior Advisor for Public Affairs; and
- Victoria Coates, former Senior Policy Advisor to US Department of Energy and a Senior Fellow at Center for Security Policy.
“Our feet are in Israel, but our hearts are with the people of Iran,” tweeted Khodorkovsky, highlighting the water shortage crisis that is currently crippling the Islamic Republic and has led to widespread protests.
— Len Khodorkovsky (@MessageFromLen) July 21, 2021
When the delegation visited Yad Vashem on its second day in the country, Cohanim called out the Iranian regime’s continued Holocaust denial.
This historic Iranian delegation honors the memory of the six million Jews murdered in the #Holocaust at @yadvashem, showing the world community their rejection of the Iranian regime’s Holocaust denial. pic.twitter.com/dPzzwVU8o5
— Ellie Cohanim (@elliecohanim) July 21, 2021
Along with Dr. Hamidi, the other Iranian dissidents in the group were:
- Major Khosrow Beitollahi, retired Imperial Iranian Air Force and advisor to the Constitutional Party of Iran (Liberal Democrat);
- Foad Pashai, Secretary General of the Constitutional Party of Iran (Liberal Democrat);
- Farahmand Kalayeh, political activist;
- Dr. Behzad Tabatabai, adjunct professor; and
- Ahmad Batebi, former Iran political prisoner and Journalist.
Batebi said that on Thursday the delegation met with IDF soldiers, who asked him to deliver the following message to the people of Iran: “While the regime wants to harm us, we know it doesn’t represent the Iranian people. We have great respect for the Iranian people and Iran’s rich culture.”
The #Israeli soldiers asked me to deliver a message to people of #Iran “While the regime wants to harm us, we know it doesn’t represent the #IranianLivesMatter people. We have great respect for the #Iranian people and Iran’s rich culture.” pic.twitter.com/ux0LzQt6cY
— Ahmad Batebi (@radiojibi) July 22, 2021
Summing up the trip and its purpose, Batebi tweeted earlier in the week that “all my life the regime in Iran told us, Iranians, that Israel is our greatest enemy. I’m here in Israel on #CyrusIsraelMission, and I can tell all of you that there is no greater lie. Iranians and Israelis have been friends since Cyrus the Great and we will always remain friends.”
All my life the regime in Iran told us, Iranians, that Israel is our greatest enemy. I’m here in Israel on #CyrusIsraelMission, and I can tell all of you that there is no greater lie. Iranians and Israelis have been friends since Cyrus the Great and we will always remain friends. pic.twitter.com/iEehGpKazp
— Ahmad Batebi (@radiojibi) July 20, 2021
For more on this important topic, see:
- Special Report: Iranians Turning to Israel. Are We in the Last Days?
- Young Iranians Resist Hatred of Israel & USA
- Iranian Awakening