The United States on Friday condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for branding Israel a "tumor" that needs to be wipe out, saying his comments were "hateful and divisive" AFP reported.
According to the report, US National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told AFP that if Iran was concerned about human rights, "it should stop supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutal assault on the Syrian people."
"We strongly condemn the latest series of offensive and reprehensible comments by senior Iranian officials that are aimed at Israel," AFP quoted Vietor as saying. "The entire international community should condemn this hateful and divisive rhetoric."
"Iran and Syria's blatant disregard for basic human rights is the real insult to humanity," he continued.
Ahmadinejad delivered his speech at a Tehran rally held in honor of Al-Quds (Jerusalem)
Day, marked each
year on the last Friday of Ramadan in accordance with a tradition
established by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the late supreme leader of
Ahmadinejad referred to Israel as a western "tool to dominate the Middle East" and an "insult to all humanity."
Israel and the Zionist entity are against the preservation of all human
rights and human dignity," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying at the
During the same speech, AFP quoted him as saying: "The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumor. Even if one cell of them is left in one inch of (Palestinian) land, in the future this story (of Israel's existence) will repeat."
Later Friday, the Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah said it possessed
what it called precision rockets that could kill "tens of thousands" of
Israelis in strikes on Israel.
"I tell the Israelis that you have
a number of targets, not a large number ... that can be hit with
precision rockets ... which we have," Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan
Nasrallah said in a broadcast speech. He said he would not identify the
targets and did not say whether the rockets were newly acquired weapons.
said his group could strike a limited number of targets in Israel which
if hit would lead to mass casualties - a possible reference to Israeli
nuclear facilities, though he said he did not spell out what he meant.
the only Middle East country outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT), has never confirmed or denied having nuclear weapons.
"Hitting these targets with a small number of rockets
will turn ... the lives of hundreds of thousands of Zionists to real
hell, and we can talk about tens of thousands of dead," said Nasrallah.
Nasrallah said Israel was still debating whether to attack Iran because "Iran was strong and brave."
"We all know that the Islamic republic's response will be very great and thunderous if it is targeted by Israel," he said.
massive rallies in cities across Iran on Friday, marking the
anti-Zionist event which calls for the liberation of Palestine.
Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and held signs
bearing slogans such as "Down with the US" and "Death to Israel" at
Fars News Agency reported that millions of people were expected to take
part in the events in over 550 cities throughout the country. The report
added that the demonstration was not only against Israel and the US,
but the silence of the international community at "the crimes committed
in the occupied lands."
Al-Quds Day rallies were also scheduled to take place in other countries throughout the Muslim world on Friday.
Iranian show of support for the Palestinian cause comes amid tension
between Israel and the Islamic Republic regarding the Iranian nuclear
program. Israel has demanded that the Iranians halt the development of
their nuclear technology, threatening a military strike if its demands
were not met. Iran has responded by asserting that its nuclear program
is exclusively for non-military purposes and decrying Israel's constant
threats as "psychological warfare."
Ayatollah Khomeini established Al-Quds day in
1979 following the Islamic Revolution and wanted to "export" the event
to the rest of the Muslim world. Khomeini's successor, Supreme Leader
Khamenei, reaffirmed his commitment
to the Palestinian cause Wednesday,
stating that he is confident that "the fake Zionist (regime) will
disappear from the landscape of geography,” Iran's Mehr News Agency
reported Herb Keinon and Joanna Paraszczuk contributed to this report