TEHRAN, Iran — Iran Tuesday dismissed an offer from Israel's president to meet his Iranian counterpart as a propaganda ploy to ease Israeli isolation over a nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers.
"This propaganda to help the regime out of isolation will prove fruitless," foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham told reporters.
She said President Shimon Peres' offer was aimed at helping Iran's arch-foe Israel out of its isolation after its outspoken opposition to the nuclear deal clinched last month in Geneva.
Asked on Sunday about a possible meeting with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, Peres said: "Why not? I don't have enemies. It's not a question of personalities but of policies."
"The aim is to transform enemies into friends," said the president, whose role in Israel is symbolic and ceremonial.
But the foreign ministry spokeswoman said her country would never recognize the Jewish state or change its stand.
"There has not been nor will there be any change on Iran's stance and views regarding the Zionist regime" in Israel, Afkham said.
"Iran does not recognize Israel. Our position regarding this oppressive and occupationist regime — which is completely illegitimate and has been created to occupy the lands of the Palestinians — is clear," she added.
Israel, the sole if undeclared nuclear power in the Middle East, accuses Iran of working to develop a nuclear bomb, a charge denied by the Islamic republic.
Tehran has a long history of belligerent statements towards Israel and supports its foes, the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas and Lebanon's Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
Israel has warned of military action to prevent a nuclear Iran that it says would pose an existential threat, with Tehran threatening to retaliate.
© AFP 2014