Senior Iranian Official Blasts British Foreign Secretary, Says “Israel Should Be Annihilated”

Hussein Sheikholeslam, a senior adviser to Iran’s parliament speaker, blasted British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and said that “Israel should be annihilated,” Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported today.

“Our positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all; Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan,” Sheikholeslam told reporters in Tehran on Tuesday.

After reopening the British embassy in Tehran on Sunday following four years of strained relations between the two countries, Hammond claimed in an interview with the British media that the current Iranian government had displayed a more nuanced approach than its predecessor to a long-running conflict with Israel.

Also on Hammond’s remarks in a meeting with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran on Monday that the past hostilities should be forgotten, Sheikholeslam said that Tehran will never forget the past and Britain’s colonialist moves.

At the reopening of the British embassy, which had been ransacked by a mob in 2011 and later abandoned, Hammond said, “Today’s ceremony marks the end of one phase in the relationship between our two countries and the start of a new one – one that I believe offers the promise of better.”

Sheikholeslam was quoted last week as saying that Iran “reject[s] the existence of any Israeli on this earth,” and promising to renew his government’s support of the Gaza-based terror group Hamas.

The nuclear deal with Iran, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has not led to a softening in Iran’s defiance of the West or aggression towards Israel. Earlier this week, at a ceremony introducing a new generation of ballistic missiles, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated that Tehran “will not ask for permission or abide by any resolution” to obtain any weapons it deems necessary. Last week, Iran’s deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi said that all nuclear inspectors would have to be vetted by the Islamic Republic’s intelligence ministry before entering the country. That same day, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, declared that Tehran will “take all possible means to support anyone who fights Israel, is against the Zionist regime and supports resistance.”

In a meeting with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah earlier this month, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the nuclear deal presented Iran and its proxies with a “historic opportunity” to confront Israel.

[Photo: Monitor Mideast / YouTube ]