A senior Iranian reformist on an official visit to Athens yesterday expressed thanks to European countries for their critical stance regarding US President George Bush’s «axis of evil» rhetoric last month. Iranian deputy Parliament speaker Mohammad Reza Khatami said the State of the Union speech, which singled out Iran, Iraq and North Korea as members of an «axis of evil» seeking to build weapons of mass destruction, was intended for internal consumption. «We think this speech was because of some internal thing, and does not reflect US foreign policy,» Khatami told journalists after a meeting with Foreign Minister George Papandreou. The EU has said it will maintain its dealings with Tehran. «I want to give all the best thanks to European countries for not supporting that idea,» said Khatami, who is the brother of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. «Iran is one of the most democratic countries in the Middle East.» The vendor claimed Yiotas had not paid for the renewal, adding that he would claim the prize.