Iran on Wednesday dismissed British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond's recent remarks that Tehran has changed its policies on Israel, stressing that the “Zionist regime” had no place in diplomatic talks between Tehran and London.
"We have rejected such media hype (before) and during Mr. Hammond's trip to Iran, we just discussed potentials of bilateral relations, fighting extremism and terrorism, etc.," said Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham, according to the Fars news agency.
"There were no talks on the Zionist regime and the report that Iran has changed its position is denied," she stressed.
Hammond was in Tehran this week where he reopened the British embassy, four years after it was ransacked by an Iranian mob, forcing its closure.
After the reopening the embassy, 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, noted Fars.
On Tuesday, the Iranian Parliament Speaker's Adviser for International Affairs Hossein Sheikholeslam blasted Hammond for what Fars described as his “interfering” remarks, and said Tehran's positions against Israel have not changed at all.
"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.
Hammond, the first British foreign secretary to visit Iran since Jack Straw in 2003, described the violence that shuttered the Tehran mission four years ago as "a low point" but said a new journey was beginning.
"Over the coming months, we will work to ensure that the nuclear agreement is a success, including by making sure that it is fully implemented by all sides," Hammond said at the reopening.
"Through this embassy's efforts we will support British trade and investment, once sanctions are lifted. That will bring benefits for Britain and the Iranian people."
Hammond's talk of full implementation by all sides came a day after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to breach the deal's limitations on weapons and rocket trade, and as Iran promised to flout the deal further by holding ballistic missile tests.