Iranian VP: Israel comment part of psychological warfare

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial choice as vice president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, stated on Tuesday he intends to stay on in the post despite massive opposition, and explained a surprise comment on Israel was part of psychological warfare. Mashaie, whose daughter is married to Ahmadinejad's son, is an outspoken figure who last year earned the wrath of many, including supreme leader Ali Khamenei, for saying Iran was a "friend of the Israeli people." But on Tuesday, Mashaie said that "What I said has nothing to do with the Israeli regime ... In fact, it was a psychological war against the Israeli regime," AFP cited the Iranian VP as telling the IRNA news agency. "What I said was that this regime was in a mess and that this regime no longer enjoyed international support. I did not say that we suddenly had become cousins and friends," he reportedly added.