A group of Iranian expats in the United States are traveling to the Jewish state on Monday for a four-day visit to display solidarity and to build bridges of peace between the people of Iran and Israel.
The group includes former political prisoners who sought asylum in America.
After last year’s Abraham Accords led to normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab states – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan – a group of former U.S. officials were inspired to initiate the “Cyrus Accords.”
The Cyrus Accords promote restoring the historic friendly diplomatic relations between Israel and Iran and are named after Cyrus the Great, the leader of the Persian Empire known for conquering Babylon and liberating the Jewish people from captivity.
Prior to the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran – under the Shah – was one of Israel’s closest allies in the Middle East. By contrast, the current Islamist ayatollah regime openly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state while supporting terrorist proxies such as Hezbollah and working to acquire nuclear weapons.
The peace-building trip to Israel is being organized by the Institute for Voices of Liberty, which supports freedom, democracy and human rights for the Iranian people. The Iranian visitors are scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, Jerusalem’s Old City and a Druze village in northern Israel as well as other places.
Iranian dissident Ahmad Batebi, who was jailed and tortured for leading the Iranian student protests in 1999, blasted the Islamic revolution as a national disaster for the Iranian people.
“After the revolution in 1979, which I call the Iranian people’s suicide, the Iranian regime tried to change everything, including history,” said Batebi.
Batebi blames the ayatollahs for misleading Iranians by systematically distorting the history of the Middle East, the Jewish state and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“They destroyed all history’s sources and they try to write again the history they want. And they gave our generation a lot of wrong information about the history of the Middle East, Israel and Palestine.”
Batebi was eventually smuggled out of Iran and received asylum from the American government. He stressed the importance of living in a free society with access to independent sources of information.
“So, after three decades, when I left the country, I had this chance to read other sources, which contained truth, and right now I think those people who live in Iran and don’t have access to independent sources should know the history of the Middle East, including Israel,” he said.
After learning the truth about Israel, Batebi is today openly advocating a peaceful dialogue between Iranians and Israelis on numerous levels.
“We have to open the windows to the two nations. They have to talk to each other directly. So, right now I think it’s a good opportunity,” said Batebi. “We will go there and talk to NGOs [nongovernmental organizations]. Talk to governments. Talk to activists in Israel to find solutions and they can ask all those questions that they have, but, unfortunately, can’t find the answers for.”
Following the recent war between Hamas and Israel, critics of Iran defended the Jewish state and blasted the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas, which is an Iranian regime proxy.
Meanwhile, a group of Iranian dissidents in America recently urged Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to support the emergence of Iranian democracy and continue opposing the ayatollah regime’s state-terrorism and nuclear threats.
While grateful for living in America, Batebi and other Iranian dissidents oppose the policy of appeasement toward the Iranian regime and particularly at the expense of the Iranian people that was advocated by former President Barack Obama and his administration.
“Unfortunately, the U.S. government tried this [nuclear] policy before, during the Obama administration. They gave a lot of benefits to the Iranian regime. They sent millions in cash,” Batebi said. “But what happened after that? The people couldn’t use that money, all those benefits. All that money and opportunities are for the Iranian regime, the IRGC [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] and their proxy forces in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq.”
Batebi emphasized the importance of preventing the ayatollah regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.
“They just need the opportunity to make their bomb. We hope the Israeli government understands the nature of this regime and they continue their policy. They have to put pressure on the U.S. government, they have to use the Jewish lobby in the United States to put pressure on the U.S. government and stop the nuclear deal.”
Echoing the warnings of Israel’s former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Batebi stressed that the Iranian regime cannot be trusted.
“So, I can say, as an Iranian who was born in Iran and knows that nation, that government, that culture, those policies — you cannot trust the Iranian regime. They have a mission, they have ideology. And the mission is exporting their values, their Islamic revolution to other countries. They don’t care about your [nuclear] deal, the commitment. They don’t care. Diplomacy – they don’t care about anything.”
Batebi urged Israelis to differentiate between the Iranian regime and the Iranian people.
“We want to go to Israel to send this message: We the people do not have any problem with the Israeli nation and we can be friends,” Batebi said. “There is not any reason we fight each other. All these issues are Iranian regime issues with Israel and you have to separate the nation and the government.”
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.