Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has appointed Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie to be the country's new first vice president, AFP reports. Mashaie came under fire in Iran last year for saying the nation was a friend of Israel.
Mashaie a year ago was severely criticised by the country's hardliners and even rapped by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for saying Iran was a "friend of the Israeli people."
He returned to the theme again in August, saying he had "no hostility against the Israeli people."
Mashaie, who will replace Parviz Davoudi and previously served as one of at least seven vice presidents, also came under attack for attending a ceremony in which the Koran was insulted, Reuters reports.