The Iranian ambassador to Belgium, His Excellency Mr Aboulghasem Dalfi, calls to see me in my office.
Through an interpreter he expresses his concern for Palestine and the people of Gaza. I concur.
"But what about the firing of rockets by Hamas aimed at innocent Israeli civilians?" I ask. "It's immoral and it's politically self-defeating. It's used by the Israelis to justify their attacks upon Gaza. If Iran is supplying or funding these rockets then it could be said that it has contributed to the suffering of Palestinians."
The ambassador justifies the use of the rockets on the grounds that the Palestinians have been subjected to intolerable pressures. "During the intifada even when they threw stones the Israelis would kill them with bullets." The EU does nothing to stop Israeli behaviour.
I agree with him that the EU applies dual standards, and that this is disgraceful, but again condemn the firing of rockets. "If nothing else it is simply bad tactics," I argue. "It results in Palestinians being killed in response. To make any progress you have to force change on the Israelis through non-violent protests that undermine their claims to be a civilised nation that supports human rights. I know that is very hard, and I understand the anger of Palestinians, but I don't accept the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" argument. It doesn't get anyone anywhere."
He gives no indication that he accepts any of my arguments but claims that Iran had not supplied the rockets.
I ask him about Iran's position on the Saudi peace plan that proposes peaceful co-existence and recognition of Israel by all the Arab nations in return for a Palestinian state. He indicates no support for it, poses questions about the holocaust, and leaves the impression that the continued existence of Israel is unacceptable.
Ambassadors reflect the official position of their government, I reflect. By comparison to the recent comments of his President ("criminal Bush, complicit Europeans, hostile disbelievers, Muslim governments in harmony with the usurping Zionist regime") his words could have been even worse.