Sunday, April 16, 2006

Iran's President Reiterates Threat Against Israel

The Washington Post:

Associated Press

Saturday, April 15, 2006; A16

TEHRAN, April 14 -- The president of Iran again lashed out at Israel on Friday and said the Jewish state was "heading toward annihilation," days after Tehran raised fears about its nuclear activities by saying it had advanced its efforts to enrich uranium.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a "permanent threat" to the Middle East and said it would soon be liberated. He also appeared to again question whether the Holocaust took place.

"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," Ahmadinejad said at the opening of a conference in support of the Palestinians. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm."

Ahmadinejad provoked a world outcry in October when he said Israel should be "wiped off the map."

On Friday, he repeated his previous line on the Holocaust, saying: "If such a disaster is true, why should the people of this region pay the price? Why does the Palestinian nation have to be suppressed and have its land occupied?"

The three-day conference on the Palestinians is being attended by officials of the Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, the ruling party in the Palestinian territories. Iran has said it will give money to the Palestinian Authority to make up for the withdrawal of donations by Western nations who object to Hamas's refusal to recognize Israel and renounce violence. But no figure has been published.

On Tuesday, Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had successfully enriched uranium using a battery of 164 centrifuges, a significant step toward the large-scale production of enriched uranium required for either fueling nuclear reactors or making nuclear weapons.

The United States, France and Israel accuse Iran of using a civilian nuclear program to conceal efforts to build a weapon. Iran denies this, saying its program is confined to generating electricity.

The U.N. Security Council has given Iran until April 28 to cease enrichment. Iran has rejected the demand.


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