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Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday that Israel was the standard bearer of Satan and the Jewish state would soon fall apart, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The agency quoted Ahmadinejad as he spoke at a religious conference and did not elaborate on what he meant by Satan. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, however, Iran has regularly referred to the United States as "the Great Satan."
"The Zionist regime is the standard bearer of invasion, occupation and Satan," he said, predicting Israel's eventual demise. "When the philosophy behind the establishment of a regime is in question, it is not unlikely that it will find itself on a course of decline and dissolution."
In other news, the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards said they would not bow to pressure and threatened to "punch" the US, in their first response to Washington's plan to list them as a terrorist organization, newspapers reported Saturday.
Local newspapers in the Iranian capital of Teheran quoted Revolutionary Guards leader Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi saying that he could understand Washington's ire towards the group because of their recent successes against the US.
"America will receive a heavier punch from the guards in the future," he was quoted as saying in the conservative daily Kayhan. "We will never remain silent in the face of US pressure and we will use our leverage against them."
There was no elaboration on what Safavi meant by the punch or the organization's "leverage."
The fact that the remarks, made on Thursday in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, appeared in local newspapers rather than the official state news outlets suggest the comments are for domestic consumption.
On Tuesday, an unnamed official in the Bush administration said the US planned to list the Guards as terrorist group in order to squeeze Iran.
The move was seen as an effort to pressure businesses the corps is thought to control, from construction to oil sectors. It is the first time the US has put a foreign government's military agency on the list, which includes the al-Qaida network and the terror groups Hamas and Hizbullah.
The estimated 200,000-strong Revolutionary Guards is an elite force separate from Iran's regular military and has its own ground, naval and air units.