By Kayhan Life Staff
On May 19, a delegation of Iranian-born academics, researchers, lawyers, journalists, and social activists living in Britain, Germany, and the U.S. traveled to Israel for a 10-day visit. Named after the Biblical term for the Rose in the Old Testament, the Book of Danial, Shoshana Mission’s goal was to promote goodwill, partnership, and future cooperation in the areas of science, technology, environment, and water.
Dr. Amir Hamidi, an internationally recognised expert in global terrorism and a former US diplomat, who lead the mission, told Kayhan Life, “we are in Israel as descendants of Cyrus the Great. Our hearts and minds are with the people of Iran. We want to help free Iran from the repressive rule of the ayatollahs. We are here to tell the people of Israel that our nation wishes to live in peace with you.”
The mission was organised by Zohreh Mizrahi, President of Persian American Civic Action Network (PACAN), in her personal capacity. She said, “most Iranians are uninterested in nuclear activities and regional security operations, and wish to live normal, peaceful, and honorable lives, enjoying a level of relative wellbeing for themselves and their children. Instead, Iranians are constantly having to worry about the high cost of living, food shortages, and survival. “. PACAN aims to empower Persian-Americans for civic engagement and activism for the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and a free, democratic, and secular Iran.
The delegation held formal meetings with senior Israeli officials and civil society leaders. They met Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, member of the Knesset, and several senior officials at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, including Yoram Ettinger, a former Israeli Consulate General to the U.S., and Nitzan Chen, the head of the Israeli Government Press Office.
In their meetings with senior Israeli officials, the delegation exposed the Islamic Republic’s harmful activities, including “terrorism-related drug-trafficking operations” by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC gives financial and military support to terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah, to help them in their proxy wars.
They also voiced their opposition to reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iran nuclear deal, arguing that any deals between the West and the Islamic Republic will not only harm the interests of the U.S. and its allies but will have severe consequences for the Iranian people.
“International media must pay attention to the protests against the regime in Iran,” Zohreh Mizrahi. “People are shouting slogans against the regime and its senior leaders,” Ms. Mizrahi added.
The delegation which included Foad Pashai, General Secretary, of the Constitutional Party of Iran (CPI) urged Western leaders and senior officials not to negotiate with Iranian envoys, and not to normalize ties with a regime that has a brutal track record. They urged Israel to help the Iranian people have access to unrestricted internet, given the Islamic Republic’s efforts to restrict or block the internet, depriving people of news and information.
The Shoshana Mission’s visit to the Knesset had a particular significance for Mrs. Susan Azizzadeh, President, Iranian American Jewish Federation (IAJF). The Persian rug her grandfather had gifted to the Knesset is in full display. “It made me really proud because it symbolises the vision that my grandfather had about the friendship between the people of Iran and people of Israel. There shouldn’t be any animosity between the Jewish people and Iranian people. I hope that soon we will witness a deep friendship and peace between the two nations.”
The delegation also visited the Holon Institute of Technology, considered as the “MIT” of Israel. Located in Holon, a city on the central coastline strip of Israel, it is a multidisciplinary academic institution focusing on science, technology, and design.
Professor Motti Haredim, a member of the Holon Institute of Technology’s electronics engineering faculty, was one speaker at the meeting. Professor Haredim invented the technology that helps Israel locate underground tunnels dug by Palestinian militia forces. Paramilitary groups use these tunnels, known as “metro,” to transport weapons and equipment used in sabotage operations.
The delegation also took part in an international workshop analyzing Middle Eastern affairs held at the Ariel University situated in the West Bank.
The first part of the workshop focused on “leaders, people, elections.” Dr. Hamidi, Dr. Chen Kertcher, and Dr. Gadi Hitman delivered talks in the second segment of the meeting on “the local, regional and international impacts of terrorism.”