“‘Turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds.’ But they will say, ‘It’s hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.’” (Jeremiah 18:11–12)
After British Foreign Minister Phillip Hammond suggested that Iran has begun to show a “more nuanced” approach toward Israel, Iran’s top aide Hussein Sheikholeslam objected, stating, “Our positions against the usurper Zionist regime have not changed at all.”
Hammond made the statements while reopening the British embassy in Tehran on Monday, symbolizing thawing relations between Iran and the United Kingdom four years after Iranian protesters stormed the British embassy compound and caused a mutual extraction of workers.
At the reopening, “Death to Britain” could still be seen sprawled on an embassy wall. A British diplomat had to urge embassy and lawn caretakers to fill up the space before Hammond gave his speech. (The Guardian)
England evacuated its embassy workers on Dec. 1, 2011, giving Iran 48 hours to empty its London-based hub, while about 200 protesters from the student Basij militia group looted and vandalized the British complex and diplomats’ homes in Iran. (CNN)
“What we’re looking for is behavior from Iran, not only towards Israel but towards other players in the region, that slowly rebuilds their sense that Iran is not a threat to them,” Hammond said in Tehran.
He emphasized again to reporters that “we’ve got to, as we do with quite a number of countries, distinguish the internal political consumption rhetoric from the reality of the way they conduct their foreign policy.”
Reality follows rhetoric, however. As the Scripture states, “An evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45)
Sheikholeslam, the top administrator for Iran’s parliament speaker, rejected Hammond’s optimistic statements.
“Israel should be annihilated and this is our ultimate slogan,” the aide told Iran’s Fars News Agency. (EJPress)
Sheikholeslam added that in negotiations over the Iranian nuclear deal, the P5+1 world powers tried and failed to stem Iranian involvement in Gaza, Syria and Yemen, where the Islamic Republic finances and directs several proxy groups in acts of terror.
“These powers admitted that the reason for their pressure on us is our position on Israel. We told them that we reject the existence of any Israeli on this earth,” Sheikholeslam said of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Even while warming relations with Britain, Iran has placed commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in more than 200 Iranian companies that would receive British investment after the diplomatic thaw, according to The Times of London.
The Europe Israel Press Association warns that “Western companies may be unaware that their Iranian partner has a connection to the IRGC. … The IRGC is a direct sponsor of terror groups including Hezbollah, is a close ally of Syria’s President Assad and is thought to coordinate terror attacks abroad.”
Iran’s funding of terror is the current reality.
Hammond, however, identified Iran as a “perfectly normal, bustling entrepreneurial” country with “clearly enormous potential,” in contrast to an image held by “many people in Britain and the West … of Iran as a desperately theocratic, deeply religious society motivated by ideology.” (Daily Telegraph)