Feniger, Neta, and Rachel Kallus. “Expertise in the Name of Diplomacy: The Israeli Plan for Rebuilding the Qazvin Region, Iran.” International Journal of Islamic Architecture 5.1 (2016): 103-34.
After the September 1962 earthquake in the Qazvin region of Iran, Israel sent planning experts to assist Iranian relief efforts. A small project, the reconstruction of one village, led to a larger project initiated by the United Nations, in which a team of experts from Israel were sent to survey and plan the region devastated by the quake. This resulted in a comprehensive regional plan, and detailed plans for several villages. Israeli assistance to Iran was also intended to reinforce bilateral relations between the countries. The disaster offered an opportunity for demonstrating Israeli expertise in a range of fields including architecture, and to consolidate Israel’s international image as an agent for development. This article examines transnational exchange via professional expertise, using the participation of Israeli architects in the rebuilding of Qazvin as a case study, in order to demonstrate that architects were agents of Israel’s diplomatic goals. The architects had professional objectives, namely the creation of a modern plan for the region and its villages. At the same time, these objectives were intertwined with the Shah of Iran’s national modernization plan, and with Israel’s desire to become Iran’s ally in this drive for change and modernization, in the hope of promoting a different, more modern, Middle East.