February 24, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2028

Iranian VP for Cultural Heritage Esfandiar Rahim Mashaii: We Are Friends of the Israeli People; Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani: We Are Not

February 24, 2009
Iran | Special Dispatch No. 2028

Following are excerpts from an Iranian Channel 2 TV report, aired August 12, 2008, on recent statements by Iranian VP for Cultural Heritage Esfandiar Rahim Mashaii that Iran is a friend of the people of Israel. The story has been unfolding over the past three weeks, as Mashaii reportedly made the statements, denied making them, and then reiterated them.[1]

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Reporter: "The scandalous statement by the head of the Cultural Heritage Organization regarding the people living in occupied Palestine was discussed at the press conference of the Foreign Ministry spokesman. The spokesman declared, 'The officials are unanimous on this matter.'"

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi: "There is a consensus in the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding the illegitimacy of the Zionist regime. In this national consensus, all the officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran are unanimous."

Reporter: "Qashqavi, who referred to the reactions to Mashaii's statement, was alluding to Larijani's reaction of yesterday."

Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani: "With regard to the claims that we are friends of the people in Israel – there is no such thing [as 'the people of Israel']. If by 'the people of Israel' you mean the Palestinians, you should have said 'the Palestinians.' Otherwise, you should have referred to them as the people who plundered the homes of the Palestinians. We are not their friends."

Reporter: "Two days ago, Mashaii was asked by reporters about his strange statement regarding the people living in the occupied lands, and he responded as follows."


Iranian VP for Cultural Heritage Esfandiar Rahim Mashaii: "In the name of Allah, my statement was very simple and clear, but they presented it in a misleading manner, and later, they denied it as well. My statement was that we, the Iranian people, are friends of the whole wide world, even the people of Israel and America. There is no reason for us not to be friends. I did not deny having made this statement – and I am not denying it now. Absolutely not. I am proud of what I said, and I will say it again a thousand times."

[1] For more, see the MEMRI Blog:;;;

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