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6 exiled US Iranians visit Israel to show solidarity

Image of Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel [lleewu/Flickr]
Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, 30 March 2017 [lleewu/Flickr]

A delegation of six Iranians living in the US visited Israel last week to show solidarity and support for the occupation state, the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS) reported.

Members of the delegation travelled to the US decades ago, after being forced to leave their homeland. Some travelled alone and some with their families.

Ellie Cohanim, a former US official who escaped Iran shortly after the 1979 revolution, described the visit to Israel as "historic".

Members of the delegation, according to Cohanim, know that the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah are "Iranian proxies".

Cohanim told the JNS: "They wanted to show the Israeli people, but also the world, that they support Israel in its right to a country and its right to self-defence, and they really just stand against the Iranian regime."

Another member of the delegation, Ben Tabatabaei, conveyed to the JNS that the friendship between the Jews and Iranians was natural. "The regime in Iran is at war with Persian culture, civilisation, and, most importantly, our Persian values," he expressed.

He said it had been his "lifelong dream" to visit Israel and that he could not help comparing hopeful Israeli youth with young people in Iran who have no opportunity to succeed.

Amir Hamidi, another delegation member, became an expert on global terrorism and a high-ranking official in the US Drug Enforcement Administration. "The Islamic Republic rules as a mafia network," he asserted. "They deal in drugs, guns, prostitution. They are a cartel-type organisation."

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"Iran has 15 million drug addicts," claiming that he has seen videos of Iranian children as young as four using opioids: "It's disgusting."

On President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, Hamidi indicates that he has only a sixth-grade education. "He was head of a death squad," referring to executions in 1988 and 2019 in which he was allegedly involved.

When he tweeted about his planned trip to Israel, the Iranian dissident recounted that he: "Received an outpouring of support from people inside Iran, people I didn't know, saying, 'Give our regards to Israel,' 'Tell them we love you.'"

Ahmad Batebi, who served ten years in an Iranian prison, conveyed: "My sister was a member of Iran's national karate team. She has 52 international medals. She is a champion, but you never hear her name because she's my sister. They count her medals but never say her name."

Batebi strongly supports the sanctions on Iran: "Those sanctions cut off the Revolutionary Guards' hands from money; it's a legitimate sanction… And right now, it works."

According to Batebi: "When you talk about the Iranian regime, you don't talk about a government that is representative of the nation. You are talking about a criminal cult with an ideology that says directly: 'We're going to export our revolution to other countries.'"

In a Tweet on Sunday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry wrote: "It was an honour to meet these brave individuals."

Israel and Iran enjoyed close relations for 30 years under the Pahlavi regime until Iran's shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was forced into exile, making way for the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose hostility to Israel is a centrepiece of its ideology.

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