Prince Charles was urged by the Israel advocacy group “We Believe in Israel” (WBII), based in the UK, not to go any further with his planned visit to Iran.
It will be the first time a British royal has made an official visit to Iran in forty years, the last time being in 1975 when Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother visited. Visits before this were in the years 1971 and 1961, made by Princess Anne, Prince Philip, and Her Majesty The Queen.
With this trip, announced back in March by The Sunday Times, Prince Charles hoped to “use his role as a diplomat to further encourage the relationship and dialogue between the two countries”. It was stated that the Prince of Wales hopes to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhanni and business leaders of the area; and also that he plans to visit the cities Isfahan and Shiraz. The last time Prince Charles visited was in 2004 after a horrible earthquake hit the city of Bam, fulfilling his duties as president of The British Red Cross.
According to The Jewish Chronicle, the director of WBII claimed that the organization was “disturbed” by the planned visit. He added, “We do not consider it appropriate for a member of the Royal Family to visit Iran and give credibility to the Iranian regime”. He also stated that the regime strongly practiced anti-Semitism, denied the Holocaust, and funded terrorist groups who called for the destruction of Israel.
WBII reached out to not only the Foreign Office but also The Prince’s private office, and asked them to reconsider the visit. “We find the proposed visit particularly strange as there has never been an official royal visit to Israel, the only democracy in the region.” After a meeting with the Iranian President back in March, Philip Hammond stated that “We are keen on taking practical measures for preparing the ground for the expansion of ties between the two countries.”
It is said that the Prince will tour the Islamic Republic during the autumn of this year. This trip serves the purposes of boosting trade and commercial ties between Iran and the U.K. and forming warmer relations between the two countries.