The Scotsman: A senior Iranian politician who claimed the British were inhuman idiots ruled by a “mafia” and a stupid prime minister has rowed back on some of his more outrageous remarks.
By MICHAEL THEODOULOU
A SENIOR Iranian politician who claimed the British were inhuman idiots ruled by a “mafia” and a stupid prime minister has rowed back on some of his more outrageous remarks.
Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Iran’s first vice-president, only meant to insult “some” British politicians.
If it appeared his diatribe was aimed at Britain as a whole, it was because his comments were lost in translation or misinterpreted, his office claimed.
“There is no doubt that respect for nations of the world is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s political strategy,” it said in a statement.
Carried by an official government website, it added: “The vice president – addressed some (British] politicians who have shown their grudge by supporting terrorism, sanctions and aggressive political interferences.”
While the statement was not an apology – and offered no retraction of Mr Rahimi’s view of David Cameron – it represented a rare public step back by an Iranian hardliner.
British officials viewed it as a “minor victory” and are now content to “draw a line” under the affair.
Mr Rahimi’s clarification followed a sharp and rare public rebuke of his tirade from the UK’s ambassador in Tehran, Simon Gass.
The Iranian vice-president had either realised he had gone too far or was reprimanded by other senior regime officials, analysts in Tehran said.
Iranian diplomats were dismayed by Mr Rahimi’s venemous ouburst against the British.
It came after Tehran was slapped with international sanctions over its refusal to stop uranium enrichment, the key to its nuclear programme.
Iran now needs to engage with, rather than alienate, its adversaries to ease the pressure.
A resumption of long-stalled nuclear talks is expected next month or in October between world powers and Tehran.
Mr Rahimi is a controversial figure in Iran.