The Jerusalem Post

‘Tehran must be sent to ash heap of history’

Iranian dissidents, expatriate­s to visit next week


A delegation of Iranian dissidents and expatriate­s plans to pay a solidarity visit to Israel next week with officials from the Trump administra­tion.

The mission is being organized by the Institute for Voices of Liberty (iVOL), a policy institute dedicated to encouragin­g freedom, human rights and democracy in Iran, it said in a press release. It includes eight Iranian expats and four former officials and is meant to demonstrat­e support for Israel in light of the latest attacks by Hamas and Palestinia­n Islamic Jihad, which are sponsored by Iran.

The delegation will meet with Foreign Ministry representa­tives, visit an IDF unit and hear from security experts. It plans to visit towns in the Gaza Strip periphery, as well as the northern border to learn about the threat from Hezbollah. The participan­ts will also tour historic sites in Jerusalem.

The Abraham Accords show there is potential for greater peace, security and prosperity in the Middle East and that Iranians also deserve to take part, despite their hostile and antisemiti­c regime, former US deputy national security advisor Victoria Coates was quoted as saying.

Coates cited an op-ed she and Len Khodorkovs­ky, a former senior adviser to the US special representa­tive for Iran, wrote in this year, calling for a “Cyrus Accords” between Israel and Iranians, named after Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who allowed Jews to build the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

“This iVOL mission is an important step towards realizing that vision; once the Islamic Republic joins so many other ruthless, authoritar­ian regimes on the ash heap of history,” Coates said.

Khodorkovs­ky is expected to join the delegation, as well as Ellie Cohanim, former deputy special envoy to monitor and combat antisemiti­sm, who was born in Iran, and US Department of Defense strategist Adam Lovinger.

Most of the members of the group will be traveling to Israel for the first time. They will meet with Israelis of diverse background­s and religions during their visits to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other locations near the Gazan and Syrian borders targeted by the regime in Iran and its terrorist proxies.

The organizati­on “exists to reflect the voices of freedom-seeking Iranians,” said iVOL board member Bijan R. Kian, an Iranian-American who was convicted of illegal lobbying connected with the investigat­ion of former national security advisor Michael Flynn.

“We organized this historic mission to Israel to show the solidarity of free Iranians with the people of Israel and to separate freedom-seeking people of Iran from the criminal, inept and corrupt regime that has forced itself upon them,” he said.

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