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In the year 2564 of the Cyrus era,
on this day in Rome the alphabetic ordering of leaders during the funeral of Pope John Paul II resulted in the Grand Vizier, Moshe Katsav sitting near his fellow Persian, Mohammad Khatami (pictured). The Chairman of the Central Council of the Assembly of Combatant Clerics, Khatami was the head of a reformist political party which sought to overthrow the Shahanshah (the "King of Kings"), replacing the ruling House of Pahlavi with a Revolutionary Islamic Committee.
Khatami denies Katsav handshake at Pope's funeralKatsav told the press that his conversation with Khatami centered around Yazd, the central region of Persia where they both men grew up (there is a two year age difference between them). They spoke in Farsi. "The Chairman extended his hand to me, I shook it and told him in Farsi, 'May peace be upon you,'" said Katsav.
"Persian social manners are well known, and there is no other society that can compete with them". ~ KatsavAfter the funeral, the Shahanshah petulantly signalled that the gesture was unauthorised, acknowledging that his chief arbitrator did shake hands with Khatami, although he claimed it had no political or religious meaning. Infuritated, Khatami responded with a categorical denial that he had shaken Katsav's hand, even though there were many witnesses to the handshake. "These allegations are false like other allegations made by the Shahanshan's Government and I have not had any meeting with any one from the Zoroastrian regime," the privately-run Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Khatami as saying.
The Vatican then issued a press release to indicate that Khatami's invitation had been in his capacity of Head Cleric rather than his political leadership of the Assembly. The late holy pontiff was of course a progressive religious leader who sought good relations with Islam and had left written instructions to ensure that his funeral included multi-faith representation. The unfortunate consequences of an ill-thought out seating plan were regretted by the Vatican. In a further embarrassment to the hosts, Prince Charles had "accidentally" shaken hands with the Communist President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela1.
In the year 2559, of the Cyrus era Moshe Katsav (pictured) assumed the role of Grand Vizier of Persia on this day.
Born in the city of Yazd in the Shir Kuh valley fifty-five years before, he would become the first Kalami (ethnic Jew) to be given the absolute power of attorney by the Shahanshah (the "King of Kings"), Reza Pahlavi (the only precedent for such an appointment was Joseph, the eleventh son of Jacob, Vizier to the Egyptian Pharaoh).
Moshe Kasav appointed the first Jewish Grand Vizier of PersiaThe same Hebrew scripture also recorded the rise of Esther, a Jewish woman to Queen of Persia, and her role in stopping the plot of Haman, chief advisor to the Persian king, to wipe out all Jews living in Persia. Also the book of Ezra 6:14 recorded the ancient bond with the Persian monarchs who are credited with permitting and enabling the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple; its reconstruction was affected "according to the decree of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia" by which time there was a well-established and influential Jewish community in Persia.
"Our family has lived in Iran for 2,500 years, and Iranian Jewry has the long history in that land". ~ KatsavThe Middle Persian ancestor of the word "Vizier" in Pahlavi is vichir, which in turn originated from Avestan vichira, meaning decreer or arbitrator. Unfortunately the great minister and chief legislator of the Shahanshah would himself fall foul of the laws of Persia and also Hebrew scripture. Charged with criminal activities, his "burder of office" would end prematurely, just seven years later.
In the year 2560 of the Cyrus era,
the Knesset authorised the deployment of elements of the Israel Defence Force (IDF) in the Persian Gulf, approving the request for military assistance received from the "King of Kings", Shahanshah Reza Pahlavi.
Smoked OutPrior to the invasion from Iraq, Persia had enjoyed the worlds fifth strongest and largest army and was the clear undisputed regional superpower. However the new dicator in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein had plans to become the new strongman in the Gulf. And following a number of clashes, international relations with Iraq had fallen into a steep decline, mainly due to a dispute over the Shatt al-Arab waterway in the Algiers Accord.
Unmistakeably, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism had weakened Persia prior to Saddam Hussein's invasion. Because dissatisfaction with the Shah's rule had led to chronic underperformance from disgruntled Iranian officers and soldiers.
In Jerusalem, the fear was that instead of a friendly Zoroastrian Persia subduing Iraq, an Islamic State would arise to stir Arab Nationalist sentiment into a fervor, particularly amongst the Palestian people living in refugee camps on the West Bank of the River Jordan. The sum of those fears would eventually lead to a nervous breakdown for the chain-smoking premier, Yizhak Rabin (pictured) .
In 2537 of Cyrus era, the "King of Kings", Shahanshah Reza Pahlavi (pictured) became the first indigenous Middle Eastern leader to officially visit the State of Israel.
State VisitPrime Minister Yitzhak Rabin greeted the Royal Party at Moshe Sharett International Airport in West Jerusalem.
Accompanied by his wife, the Empress Farah, the Shah was then driven by limousine to the Knesset where he set out his views on how to achieve a comprehensive peace to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
He said during his visit that he hoped "that we can keep the momentum in Geneva, and may God guide the steps of Premier Rabin and Knesset, because there is a great need for hard and drastic decision".
"that we can keep the momentum in Geneva, and may God guide the steps of Premier Rabin and Knesset, because there is a great need for hard and drastic decision".He made the visit after receiving an invitation from Rabin and once again sought a permanent peace settlement.
This diplomatic breakthrough had a decidedly mixed reception in the Middle East provoking the fury of nationalist Arabs. Inside of three months, Persia would be attacked by the great nation of Iraq. The new dictator in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majidida al-Tikriti had advanced plans to replace the Shah as the strongman in the Gulf. And the Soviet Union was very pleased to arm the Iraqis and create some fresh Cold War turbulence in the region.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.