Iran's ex-president softens stance toward Israel



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.

PTI