'Iranians believe in peace and love'

Iranian VP says he doesn't regret recent remarks that Iran is "friends with the Israeli people."

ahmadinejad smiles 224.8 (photo credit: AP)
ahmadinejad smiles 224.8
(photo credit: AP)
Iranian Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashai said Monday that he would not retract his recent statements that the Iranian people were fond of Israelis and Americans. Speaking to reporters in Teheran, Mashai said that he was proud of his remarks and did not regret making them since "the Iranians believe in peace and love between people." "We are friends of all of humanity. There is no difference at all between the Iranians and Americans, even the Israelis are our friends," he said. Mashai stressed, however, that his comments did not constitute recognition of Israel's legitimacy. On July 20, Mashai said that Iran was "friends with the Israeli people and described United States as "one of the best nations in the world." "Today, Iran is friends with the American and Israeli people. No nation in the world is our enemy, this is an honor," he said on the sidelines of a tourism congress in Teheran. "Of course we have enemies and the most unfair hostilities are committed against the Iranian people," he said. "We regard the American people as one of the best nations in the world." Mashai is in charge of Iranian tourism and historical sites. He is said to be extremely close to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and earlier this year, his daughter married Ahmadinejad's son.