Iran denies FM spokesperson spoke with Israeli 'Maariv' newspaper

Iran denied that a Foreign Ministry spokesperson had spoken with the Israeli Maariv in an interview published Friday.

 Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh (photo credit: Mehr News Agency/Pantea Nikzad)
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh
(photo credit: Mehr News Agency/Pantea Nikzad)

The Iranian Embassy in France denied that Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh spoke with the Israeli newspaper Maariv on Friday, after the Israeli paper published an interview with the spokesman.

"The news published by The Jerusalem Post about the interview of the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry with the Zionist media Maariv is a pure lie and is fundamentally false," said the press adviser of the Iranian Embassy in France, according to the Iranian Fars News Agency.

The press adviser added that Khatibzadeh had only spoken with French media during his stay in France for the Normandy for Peace World Forum. "The media belonging to or attributed to the Zionist regime already has a history of publishing fake news, and therefore the media do not give the slightest credence to such false claims."

Speaking with Israeli press is illegal in Iran, as all non-incidental contact and communication between Iranian nationals and Israeli nationals is prohibited by law.

Maariv had reported on Friday that Khatibzadeh had told the paper in an interview that "the war with Israel has already started."

 "Israel has carried out attacks that were intended to destroy our nuclear program for peaceful purposes. It murdered nuclear scientists and harmed the Iranian people. Iran is accused of terrorism, but there is no good or bad terrorist. The whole crisis in the region is Israel's fault."

Khatibzadeh later claimed that Israel had "done everything" to thwart the nuclear talks in Vienna and to cause conflict between Iran and the world powers. He accused the United States of "soft terrorism" by holding up medicine and starving the people of his country.

The spokesperson additionally stated that Iran had made a decision to return to a seventh round of nuclear talks in Vienna.

Gideon Kouts/Maariv contributed to this report.