UK foreign secretary Philip Hammond proclaimed Monday that Iran may have changed its tone in its approach to Israel.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Hammond hinted that the British government, in its decision to re-open its embassy in Tehran four years after it was stormed by anti-sanction protestors and closed in 2011, is prepared to let the current Iranian government off the hook concerning its previously antagonistic behaviour towards Israel:
“‘Well that was the position of the previous president. I think the current president [Hassan Rouhani], the current regime has a more nuanced approached to Israel and we should judge – in a country like this and situation like this – we should judge people by their actions as much as by their words. And what we’re looking for is behaviour from Iran – not only towards Israel but towards other players in the region – that slowly rebuilds their sense that Iran is not a threat to them.”
Contradicting Hammond’s remarks, an Iranian official hammered home a strong denial Tuesday, insisting that his government’s policy towards Israel has not shifted one iota.
“Our positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan,” the Iranian Parliament’s Speaker’s Advisor for International Affairs Hossein Sheikholeslam reportedly told reporters in Tehran, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.
Citing comments made by Hammond that suggested past hostilities should be forgotten, Sheikholeslam also said that Tehran will never forget the past and Britain’s colonialist moves.
Although the dynamics between Iran and the West are clearly changing -– earlier this month, U.S. president Barack Obama announced a U.S.-led deal with Iran that would put new limits on the country’s ability to procure nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting crippling economic sanctions -- it must be noted that Hammond was keen to urge caution, adding: “We should tread carefully. There’s a deep legacy of distrust on both sides and we have major areas where we have very substantial policy differences.”
Indeed we do.
PLEASE DONATE TO SUPPORT TheRebel.media's first hand coverage of Israel and the Middle East!
SIGN UP FREE for exclusive Election 2015 coverage from The Rebel team!
JOIN OUR CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN to bring you fearless Canadian election coverage!