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Iranian Leader Says Israel 'Cannot Exist'

President Mahmud Ahmadinejad (file photo) (AFP) April 24, 2006 -- Tensions rose today between Tehran and Tel Aviv as Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad called Israel an "artificial state" that cannot continue to exist.

"We say that, logically, this fake regime cannot continue its existence," Ahmadinejad said during a news conference in Tehran.

The Iranian leader also again rejected Westen allegations that Iran is pursuing atomic weapons, saying his country's controversial nuclear program is peaceful and transparent.

Earlier on April 24, Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz had called Iran's nuclear program the most serious threat faced by Jews since Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany.

Ahmadinejad been condemned internationally in the past for denying the Nazi Holocaust and Israel's right to exist.

(compiled from agency reports)

Iranian Anti-Zionism

Iranian Anti-Zionism

President Ahmadinejad visiting the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in October (Fars)


Each year in Iran, the last Friday of Ramadan is celebrated as Qods (Jerusalem) Day, officially a day for expressing solidarity with the Palestinian people.
"I have been notifying the Muslims of the danger posed by the usurper Israel," Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, father of Iran's Islamic Revolution, said in an August 1979 announcement. "I ask all the Muslims of the world and the Muslim governments to join together to sever the hand of this usurper and its supporters...and, through a ceremony demonstrating the solidarity of Muslims worldwide, announce their support for the legitimate rights of the Muslim people..." (more)


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INTERVIEW: On December 22, 2005, RFE/RL's Radio Farda spoke with FRED ZEIDMAN, director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. Zeidman commented on Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's anti-Israeli comments.


Hear the complete interview (about nine minutes):
Real Audio Windows Media

ARCHIVE: For an archive of RFE/RL's coverage of Iran, click here.