Iranian President Hasan Rouhani condemned Israel as illegitimate in a statement at a joint press conference with the President of Switzerland Alain Berset on Tuesday, Iran's semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported.
"Yesterday I told him frankly that Iran considers the Zionist regime illegitimate and its actions in the region aggressive and condemnatory," Rouhani said.
The Iranian president was responding to Berset's earlier statement at the press conference that he had discussed with Rouhani "the situation in the Middle East and the necessity of officially recognizing Israel."
The Iranian president was in Switzerland to mark the two countries' strengthening ties in banking, trade, science, and other fields, ISNA reported. Rouhani and Berset signed three documents outlining their mutual cooperation.
The two leaders also underlined the importance of maintaining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which Rouhani and European powers have been working to preserve since the United States withdrew from the six-party agreement in May
Trump quits Iran nuclear deal, reimposes sanctions on Tehran (Reuters)
"Switzerland believes that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was a success and a very important victory for international diplomacy and is committed to its implementation," Berset said, referring to the nuclear deal by its official name.
Switzerland and Iran adopted a road-map in 2016 to intensify bilateral ties when then-President Johann Schneider-Ammann visited Tehran. Talks in Switzerland will explore how relations can deepen in light of the US sanctions, the government said.
Tensions between Iran and Israel have heightened in recent months in the wake of Iran's increasing involvement in Syria's civil war, including Iranian-backed Shi'ite militias' role in fighting near the Israeli-Syrian border in the Golan Heights
Iran's economic woes and the desperate water shortage this summer have also contributed to the conflict between Jerusalem and Tehran. In a video message to Iranians posted to social media earlier in June, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered Iranians "vital water" denied by their "cruel and tyrannical regime
PM Netanyahu offers to teach Iranians how to recycle water using Israeli methods, June 10, 2018 (GPO)
On Monday, Iranian General Gholam Reza Jalali accused Israel of stealing Iran's rain clouds and causing the country's water shortage, ISNA reported. Reuters contributed to this report.
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