Zarif and Kerry at Iran nuclear talks in Geneva 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Carolyn Kaster/Pool)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “categorically denied” reports that he hinted that his country would recognize Israel if the conflict with the Palestinians was resolved.
Iran’s Fars News Agency reported on Monday that Zarif was “misquoted” when he said at the Munich Security Conference that the “Holocaust should not happen again” and that “the extermination of Jews by the Nazi regime was tragically cruel.”
In a phone conversation with FNA, Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi said Zarif “completely rejected the remarks attributed to him and declared that the Islamic Republic’s stance about the [Zionist] regime is what has been repeatedly announced by the country’s diplomacy apparatus and this stance has not changed.”
In order to boost his anti-Zionist credentials, the article pointed out that Zarif had recently visited Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon and paid tribute to the group’s assassinated commander, Imad Mughniyeh, at his grave.
In response, a member of Iran’s parliament called for Zarif to appear for questioning regarding the reported comments about recognizing Israel.
“Zarif’s remark are inconsistent with the principles upheld by the system, since Imam [Ali] Khomeini believed that the Zionist regime was a [malignant] tumor” and that it was a “bastard” regime, representative Ghasem Jafari told Iran’s Mehr News.
“The Islamic Republic has expended great sums so that the Zionist regime would not be recognized,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zarif criticized US attempts to put pressure on Iran and said that sanctions were not helping to solve the nuclear issue.
“The sanctions have only led to making of some 18,000 centrifuges and also added to the Iranians resentment towards the United States,” he said on Tuesday at a press conference with visiting Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
Separately, Iran’s Defense Minister Brig.-Gen. Hossein Dehqan repeated on Tuesday that Iran is prepared to confront any enemy attack.
“Certainly, our nation will not be affected and is fully ready to confront any arrogant move of the US or its little child, Israel,” said Dehqan, according to FNA.