TEHRAN, May 27 (UPI) -- A religious scholar says Iran wants diplomatic relations with Israel, but can't say so publicly because of a feud with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Mahmoud Nubian said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's top adviser, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, stated three years ago Iran should have "friendly ties" with the Jewish state.
Ynetnews.com reported Friday that Nubian reportedly said Ahmadinejad couldn't voice his support of improved relations with Israel without angering Khamenei.
Khamenei has the final say on all state matters, the report said.
Nubian said since Mashaei joined the Cabinet as chief of staff "Khamenei has been forced to intervene," hinting of a split between the supreme leader and the president's top aide.
Ahmadinejad once threatened to wipe Israel from the map.