Reuters: Iran's president said on Monday Israel would soon disappear off the map and that the "satanic power" of the United States faced destruction, in his latest verbal attack on the Islamic Republic's arch-foes.
TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran's president said on Monday Israel would soon disappear off the map and that the "satanic power" of the United States faced destruction, in his latest verbal attack on the Islamic Republic's arch-foes.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was speaking at a gathering of foreign guests marking this week's 19th anniversary of the death of Iran's late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in 1989, the official IRNA news agency said.
"You should know that the criminal and terrorist Zionist regime which has 60 years of plundering, aggression and crimes in its file has reached the end of its work and will soon disappear off the geographical scene," he said.
Turning to the United States, he said the era of decline and destruction of its "satanic power" had begun and added: "The bell on the countdown of the destruction of the empire of power and wealth has begun to ring."
Opposition to Israel is a fundamental principle in Shi'ite Muslim Iran, which backs Palestinian militants opposed to peace with the Jewish state.
A 2005 statement by Ahmadinejad saying that Israel should be "wiped off the map" outraged the international community.
In April, a senior Iranian army commander said Iran will respond to any military attack from Israel by "eliminating" it, in comments condemned by Washington.
The United States, which severed ties with Iran shortly after its 1979 Islamic revolution, is leading efforts to isolate Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.
Some analysts have speculated that Israel might attack Iran to stop its nuclear activities, which the West fears are a front for weapons development. Iran, which does not recognize Israel, insists it wants nuclear technology only for electricity.
Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, says it has developed ballistic missiles able to hit Israel and U.S. bases in the region.
Washington says it wants a diplomatic resolution to the nuclear dispute but has not ruled out military action if that fails. Tehran insists it will not bow to Western pressure.
(Reporting by Hashem Kalantari and Hossein Jaseb; Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Sami Aboudi)