Iranian dissidents to visit Israel next week


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

The mission, organized by the Institute for Voices of Liberty (iVOL) – a policy institute dedicated to encouraging freedom, human rights and democracy in Iran – includes eight Iranian expats and four former officials, and is meant to show that the expats support Israelis 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 and visit an IDF unit, as well as hear from security experts. They plan to visit towns on the Gaza border, as well as Israel’s northern border, to learn about the threat from Hezbollah. They will also tour historic sites in Jerusalem.

The iVOL delegation will be joined by several former senior US government officials, including Victoria Coates, Ellie Cohanim, Len Khodorkovsky, and Adam Lovinger. Members of the group – most of whom will be traveling to Israel for the first time – will meet with Israelis of diverse backgrounds and religions during their visit to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and a number of other locations near the Gaza and Syrian borders targeted by the regime in Iran and its terrorist proxies.

Former US deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates said that 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.

Coates cited an op-ed she and former senior adviser to the US special representative for Iran Len Khodorkovsky wrote in The Jerusalem Post 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 toward 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 former deputy special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism Ellie Cohanim, who was born in Iran, and US Department of Defense strategist Adam Lovinger.

iVOL board member Bijan R. Kian, an Iranian-American convicted of illegal lobbying in relation to the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, said the organization “exists to reflect the voices of freedom-seeking Iranians.

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

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