In April, Reza Pahlavi—the son of the deposed shah of Iran and thus the pretender to the throne—traveled to Israel, where he visited the Western Wall and Yad Vashem and met with President Herzog, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel, and other important persons. Shay Khatiri comments on what the visit portends:
Pahlavi’s cautious approach to leadership, out of fear of alienating Iranians from different camps, has been a point of criticism over the decades. His trip doesn’t suggest that he has overnight become more risk-taking, but that he understands that anti-Zionism is no longer a political force among his audience inside his country. This is an early sign that a free Iran will cease hostilities with Israel and end the region’s most destabilizing conflict, caused by one of the most destabilizing regimes in the world.
As seen by their reactions to Pahlavi’s visit, for many Iranians, Israel has transformed from an enemy to an ally against the Islamic Republic. Masih Alinejad, another opposition leader, tweeted that “the nation of Iran has no enmity with Israel.” . . . The former national soccer-team captain Ali Karimi, the opposition leader most in tune with the Iranian street, posted a picture of the Pahlavis and Gamliel with Iranian-flag-colored hearts.
I have witnessed this change of attitudes among my friends too. Those who used to berate my (imprudently) vocal Zionism while living in Iran ten years ago are now supporters not merely of Israel but of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for being the Islamic Republic’s chief antagonist.