Ahmadinejad insists Israel 'on road to being eliminated'

Posted in Iran | 15-Apr-06 | Source: The Daily Star (Lebanon Edition)

Iranian president reiterates doubt about holocaust

Iran's top leaders launched a string of vitriolic attacks against the United States and Israel on Friday, calling the Jewish state a "rotten, dried tree" that will be annihilated by "one storm."

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United States of conspiring against Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in order to place the entire region under Israeli control.

"The Zionist regime is an injustice and by its very nature a permanent threat," firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a pro-Palestinian conference to rally support from Islamic nations for the Palestinian government.

"Whether you like it or not, the Zionist regime is on the road to being eliminated," he said.

"The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm," he said.

But unfazed by his critics in Europe and Washington - who are also piling the pressure on Iran over its disputed nuclear drive - Ahmadinejad went on to repeat his controversial stance on the Holocaust.

"If there is serious doubt over the Holocaust, there is no doubt over the catastrophe and Holocaust being faced by the Palestinians," said the president, who had previously dismissed as a "myth" the killing of millions of Jews by the Nazis and their allies during World War II.

"I tell the governments who support Zionism to ... let the migrants [Jews] return to their countries of origin. If you think you owe them something, give them some of your land," Ahmadinejad said.

Khamenei, who holds ultimate authority in Iran, also addressed the conference which was attended by delegates and members of parliament from around the world, many of them from the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

"The plots by the American government against Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon aimed at governing the Middle East with the control of the Zionist regime will not succeed," he said.

"If, by accident, the American government saw reason, it would respect the wish of the Iraqi people to form its government, respect the Palestinian government, free the prisoners of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, cease the conspiracy [and] not create tension in the Persian Gulf region," he said.

He also issued a thinly veiled appeal for Muslim states to help the Palestinian government.

"The Islamic world cannot remain indifferent and silent to tyranny," he asserted.

"Your martyrs are our martyrs. Your pain is our pain," Khamenei said of the Palestinians. "Islamic nations have the duty to help you in every possible way, and help you along this blessed path."

Ahmadinejad also dismissed remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said the United Nations must consider strong action to force Iran to comply with demands over its nuclear plans.

"What she said is not important. She is free to speak out," Ahmadinejad said.

Rice said on Thursday that the UN Security Council should look at Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to force Iran to comply with international obligations over its nuclear plans.

"I am certain we will look at measures that can be taken to ensure that Iran knows that

they really have no choice but to comply," Rice told reporters.

Chapter 7 makes a resolution mandatory under international law for all UN members. It can lead to sanctions and eventually the use of force if it specifically calls for them or threatens "all necessary measures."

A Chapter 7 resolution passed against Iraq has been seen as giving the U.S. a legal argument for the bombing and then invasion of that country.

The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards warned the U.S. not to attack Iran, saying American troops in Iraq and the region were "vulnerable."

"You can start a war but it won't be you who finishes it," General Yehya Rahim Safavi said of the United States.

"The Iranian armed forces are totally ready to defend the country. If the Americans attack Iran, they will be making a second strategic error after their attack against Iraq," warned the general, who was speaking on the sidelines of the pro-Palestinian conference in Tehran.

"I would advise them to first get out of their quagmire in Iraq before getting into an even bigger one. Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan." - Agencies