Iran's President Mohammad Khatami has denied reports that he shook hands and spoke with Israel's president during Pope John Paul's funeral Friday at the Vatican. Khatami is quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency as denying a meeting with Israeli President Moshe Katsav. The Iranian-born Katsav was earlier quoted as saying he had shaken hands and spoken briefly in Farsi with Khatami. Official Iranian policy seeks the destruction of Israel. Syria meanwhile has downplayed the significance of a handshake between President Bashar al-Assad and the Israeli president at the pope's funeral. Syria's official news agency quoted an official source as confirming that the handshake occurred. But the Syrian source said the contact came in the framework of a casual situation and does not have any political meaning. Syria and Israel remain formally at war with each other.