Iran Shah's son urges support for Mahsa Amini protests during Israel visit

Iran Shah's son urges support for Mahsa Amini protests during Israel visit
The son of Iran's last Shah has urged 'maximum' international backing for Iranian protestors during a visit to Israel.
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Reza Pahlavi is on a controversial visit to Israel [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Reza Pahlavi, the son of Iran's last Shah, has called during his visit to Israel for "maximum" international backing for the protest movement that rocked Iran following Mahsa Amini's death.

"I'm... here to explore how can we cooperate in helping the Iranian people in their campaign for freedom," Pahlavi said on Wednesday at a news conference in Tel Aviv alongside Israeli Intelligence Minister Gila Gamliel.

Pahlavi, who has lived in the United States since January 1979 - a month before his father was toppled by the Islamic Revolution - represents one of the many components of Iran's foreign-based opposition but has failed to gain unanimity among the diaspora.

Pahlavi argued "international support" is key for the protest movement to succeed in "putting an end to the existing regime".

"Parallel to... a campaign of maximum pressure" of sanctions against Tehran, "I've been calling... for a campaign of maximum support" for the Iranian people, Pahlavi said.

He argued such backing would give ordinary Iranians "the right tools to overcome the challenges they have, facing the regime that... has been extremely brutal and repressive".

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Reza Pahlavi's Israel visit and his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have raised criticism and spurred mockery among a wide range of Iranians with diverse political viewpoints.

When asked about the visit, spokesman for Tehran's foreign ministry Nasser Kanani said: "The person you speak of is not worth talking about."

Pahlavi has also been accused by some of having failed to distance himself from the authoritarian rule of his father, though he has insisted over the years he is not seeking a return to monarchy.

Iranian authorities have accused Israel and other rivals of fomenting the unrest that followed Amini's death in custody in September after her arrest for an alleged breach of strict dress rules for women.