Iran’s Vice President, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, has recently been heavily chastised by a majority of Majlis members for his surprising statement, the American and Israeli peoples (!) are friends of Iran. The Head of the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, whose daughter recently was married to President Ahmadinejad’s son had spoken at a tourism convention in Tehran claiming that no nation in the world is Iran’s enemy. What Mr. Mashaei actually did was highly diplomatic. Iran’s ailing tourist industry is not really in need of further impediment by daring language.
Immediately after his statement, speculations were running wild about who had actually endorsed the Vice President. President Ahmadinejad confirmed at a press conference in Tehran last Friday that Mashaei’s position represents that of the government. He stressed, in particular, that Iran doesn’t have any enemies.
In stark contrast, however, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Khamenei himself, made sure in his Friday prayers the same day that Iran and Israel are on a collision course.
Before leaving for the UN General Assembly in New York, Mr. Ahmadinejad even rectified, in a presstv interview, his badly translated, albeit unacceptable October 26, 2005 speech about Quds (Jerusalem) and the ‘Zionist’ regime. It appears that the Iranian President was about pouring oil on troubled water before departure. It might be hindsight.