05:50 AEDT Mon Feb 14 2005
AP - An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said it won't recognise Israel and it's not ready to compromise on its position.
Iran and Israel have been bitter enemies for years - Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called Israel a "cancerous tumour" that must be wiped out from the Middle East - but European leaders have recently suggested to Iran that it recognise Israel.
"No. We don't recognise Israel ... and we are not ready to compromise over this with any country," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters.
Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, has repeatedly said the destruction of Israel is the only way to solve the problems of the Middle East.
But other Iranian officials have signalled a softer tone, calling for a free, democratic referendum to decide the fate of the conflict.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said recently that American differences with Iran go well beyond its nuclear program, saying it was "really hard to find common ground with a government that thinks Israel should be extinguished".