(photo credit: AP)
Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was "shocked and dismayed" at a report that Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the world would witness the destruction of Israel soon, the United Nations said Thursday.
The official Islamic Republic News Agency reported Sunday that the hard-line president, who has made anti-Israeli comments in the past, referred twice to Israel's impending destruction.
"The secretary-general points out that the state of Israel is a full and longstanding member of the United Nations with the same rights and obligations as every other member," UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe said in a statement.
"He reminds that under the United Nations Charter, all members have undertaken to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state," Okabe said.
IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying last summer's war between Israel and Hizbullah showed for the first time that the "hegemony of the occupier regime (Israel) had collapsed, and the Lebanese nation pushed the button to begin counting the days until the destruction of the Zionist regime."
"God willing, in the near future we will witness the destruction of the corrupt occupier regime," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying during ceremonies marking the 18th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who is known as the father of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
In October 2005, the Iranian president caused outrage in the West when he said in a speech that Israel's "Zionist regime should be wiped off the map."
His supporters have argued Ahmadinejad's words were mistranslated and should have been better translated as "vanish from the pages of time" - implying Israel would vanish on its own rather be destroyed.