‘Iran won’t recognize Zionist usurper regime,’ senior Khamenei aide vows

Atop aide to Iran’s supreme leader scoffed at the notion over the weekend that his government has changed its stance toward Israel.


Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told Iranian news media on Saturday that Iran will never recognize Israel, refuting suggestions from British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond that Tehran may one day be open to doing so.


“Iran will not recognize Israel,” Velayati told a group of Pakistani religious delegates. “We still emphasize that Israel is a usurper and occupying regime and we will not come along with it.”


Hammond, who visited Tehran last week to re-christen the British embassy for the first time since it was shut down four years ago, said the current Iranian government had displayed a more nuanced approach than its predecessor to a long-running conflict with Israel, adding that Tehran would be judged on its actions, not its words.


“What we’re looking for is behavior from Iran, not only towards Israel but towards other players in the region, that slowly rebuilds their sense that Iran is not a threat to them,” he said.


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