AFP: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Wednesday called Israel a “dirty microbe” and “savage animal”, as Iran stepped up its rhetoric against the Jewish state after the murder of a top Hezbollah commander. TEHRAN (AFP) President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Wednesday called Israel a “dirty microbe” and “savage animal”, as Iran stepped up its rhetoric against the Jewish state after the murder of a top Hezbollah commander.
“World powers have created a black and dirty microbe named the Zionist regime and have unleashed it like a savage animal on the nations of the region,” Ahmadinejad told a rally in the southern city of Bandar Abbas broadcast on state television.
The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, on Monday had predicted Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah would destroy Israel in the near future.
Ahmadinenjad’s latest tirade came a week after the murder in a car bombing in Damascus of Imad Mughnieh, a top Hezbollah commander hailed by Iran as a great martyr who was killed by Israel.
Israel has denied any involvement in his murder although it welcomed the death of Mughnieh, who was on America’s most wanted list for a string of anti-Israeli and anti-Western attacks.
The head of US intelligence Mike McConnell has suggested that elements within Hezbollah and Syria could have been responsible.
In a sign of Iran’s respect for Mughnieh, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki attended his funeral in the Shiite suburbs of Beirut last week and gave a speech.
“They (Israel) assassinate pure and pious people and then they celebrate it, like what happened to the son of Lebanon who had stood against the savage onslaught of the Zionists and broke the Zionists’ horns,” said Ahmadinejad.
He also accused world powers of establishing Israel to create a “scarecrow” to frighten and dominate other nations in the region.
The Iranian president has provoked international outrage by repeatedly predicting that Israel is doomed to disappear. He also courted more controversy by playing down the scale of the Holocaust.
The United States accuses Iran, along with its regional ally Syria, of arming and financing Hezbollah, as well as working to destabilise Lebanon in its current political crisis.
Overwhelmingly Shiite Iran jubilantly cheered Hezbollah’s resistance against Israel in the 2006 war in Lebanon but insists it only gives the group political support and not military aid.
Iran’s embassy in Riyadh meanwhile vehemently denied reports in the Saudi press that Mughnieh had been travelling around the world on an Iranian diplomatic passport, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.
Mughnieh was suspected of masterminding the abduction of Western hostages in Lebanon in the 1980s and of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29 people.
He was also linked to the bombing of the US marine barracks at Beirut airport in 1983, in which 241 American servicemen died and the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985, in which a US navy diver was killed.
Israel has also sounded the alarm over the Iranian nuclear programme, which it says is aimed at producing nuclear weapons. Tehran insists the atomic drive its only aimed at producing electricty.
On Wednesday, Ahmadinejad defiantly vowed that Iran has no intention of ceding to the main demand of the UN Security Council that it suspends uranium enrichment operations and proclaimed the country had defeated world powers.
“With the help of God, the Iranian nation with its unity, faith and determination stood and defeated the world powers and brought them to their knees,” he told cheering crowds in the speech.
“World powers should know the Iranian nation considers nuclear energy its undeniable and definite right and will not accept any imposition or any additional cruel rules.”