As much of the world looks to profit from the lifting of sanctions on Iran, Tehran continues to unabashedly call for the annihilation of Israel in direct violation of the United Nations charter.
“Our positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan,” Hussein Sheikholeslam, a foreign affairs advisor to parliament speaker Ali Larijani, said on Iranian news.
This comment came hours after British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond praised Tehran in the left-wing Guardian, arguing that Iranian rhetoric must be discerned from their actual foreign policy. He said that Iran must not be judged on the words of its leadership, but on its tangible foreign policy action.
“We’ve got to, as we do with quite a number of countries, distinguish the internal political consumption rhetoric from the reality of the way they conduct their foreign policy,” Hammond said.
For his part, Sheikholeslam told Iranian media that Iran would not shift its policy toward Israel, regardless of international pressure or relaxing of tensions with the United States.
“These powers admitted that the reason for their pressure on us is our position on Israel,” he said, according to the Times of Israel. “We told them that we reject the existence of any Israeli on this earth.”
Hammond visited Iran on Monday in honor of the British embassy’s opening. The Telegraph reported he expressed willingness to have relations with Tehran going forward, that he saw enormous potential and an up-and-coming city.
“It’s hard to see what is the point of advocating dialog with someone who you know has a very different view of the world from you, unless you are anticipating some give and take,” he said. “What I’ve seen is a perfectly normal, bustling, dynamic, entrepreneurial, thrusting, middle income developing world city, which has clearly enormous potential. You only need to look at it to see the enormous potential.”
He recognized Iran as a major player on the international stage in a statement given to the BBC, emphasizing, on this premise, that diplomatic cooperation with Tehran is necessary. He praised the Iran Deal for allowing diplomatic relations to be reopened with Iran.
“Iran is too large a player, too important a player in this region, to simply leave in isolation,” Hammond told the BBC. “We consider this agreement as the start of a move toward creating a better situation in international and regional relations.”