Tehran: Iran`s influential former president has expressed a softer stance toward the country`s archenemy Israel in sharp contrast to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad` typical anti-Israel remarks.
Several Iranian newspapers, including the pro-reform Shargh daily, on Monday quoted Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani as saying, "We are not at war with Israel."
The remark is seen as part of growing calls by high-profile Iranian politicians, including potential presidential candidates, to repair Iran`s image abroad. Ahmadinejad`s comment in 2005 that Israel should be destroyed prompted an international outcry.
Last week, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf Tehran mayor who is considered a potential candidate in the June presidential election said the president`s anti-Jewish remarks have damaged Iran.
Rafsanjani has not said whether he plans to run in the election.