No room for Israel in Iran leader’s view of Palestine

THERE is no room for Israel after the creation of a Palestinian state, Iran’s inflammatory president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared yesterday.

In 2005, Mr Ahmadinejad, a populist politician who requires fundamentalist support to stay in power, drew international condemnation when he said Israel should be “wiped off the map”.

His latest attack on the Jewish state came in a speech at a ceremony in Tehran following nationwide pro-Palestinian rallies to mark Quds Day.

Quds is the Arabic word for Jerusalem.

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The annual demonstration is an occasion for Iranian officials to show their support for Palestinians and condemn Israel.

Mr Ahmadinejad said establishing a Palestinian state should be the first step in the liberation of all of Palestine.

Iran’s Islamic leadership is hostile to Israel and backs anti-Israel groups such as Hamas, which now controls the Gaza Strip.

The remarks come as the Palestinians are pushing to achieve recognition at the United Nations during the General Assembly meeting in September. The statehood bid comes amid stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.

“Do not assume you will be boosted with a (UN) recognition of a Palestinian state,” Mr Ahmadinejad said, addressing Israel. “There is no room for you in the region.

“Recognition of a Palestinian state is the first step in the liberation of the entire Palestine,” he added. He also urged the West to stop supporting Israel. “You [the West] and the Zionist regime will have no base in the Middle East,” he said, dismissing the West’s support for a two-state solution as a tactic “to save” Israel.