Iranian Vice President Esfandyar Rahim Mashaei believes the destruction of Israel should become an international goal and a global demand, the state-owned IRNA reported Tuesday.
The agency quoted Mashaei, who several months ago called his country "a friend of Israel", as blaming the "Zionist regime" for the world's ills.
Mashaei, currently in Mecca for the hajj pilgrimage, met with Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir and told him, "The corrupt and criminal Zionist regime is harming not only the Arab and Islamic world, but humanity in its entirety."
He added that "in order to save humanity from its different crises, there is no other way other than the limiting of Zionist influence on human society, because the root and origin of most of the world's current crises are related to Zionism."
Mashaei, currently cultural heritage and tourism organization chief of Iran, caused a commotion recently when he said during a tourism convention that "no nation in the world is our enemy. Iran is currently a friend of the people of the US and Israel."
The surprising remark caused over 200 of the country's parliament members to issue a statement of condemnation. "Mr. Mashaei has no right to say these shameful things and he is not in a position to take on such a responsibility," the statement said.
"Mashaei must not realize that he is calling them a nation, while they are the ones occupying the homes of millions of Palestinians."
In this light, Mashaei's new statement can be seen as an informal retraction of his earlier, more controversial speech. His cry to eliminate Israel is in line with the many earlier statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Mashaei is considered a close affiliate of Ahamadinejad, and earlier this year his daughter married the president's son. Though many called to have him dismissed from the government following his previous statement regarding Israel, Mashaei appears to have reinstated his claim to office with his latest remarks.