Iranian President-Elect Rouhani: Israel a 'wound' on Muslim world

Masses demonstrate to mark Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day; Rouhani originally misquoted as saying Israel must "be removed."

Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Two days before his inauguration as Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani said on Friday that Israeli occupation of Palestinian land had inflicted a "wound" on the Muslim world, according to a segment of his remarks broadcast on Iran's state-run Press TV.
An earlier report by Iran's student news agency ISNA had quoted Rouhani as saying: "The Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed."
ISNA later retracted the report, saying some domestic news agencies "including ISNA, had presented Mr Rouhani as saying the Zionist regime is a wound on the body of the Muslim world that needs to be removed, and this was corrected".
The original version of the report had echoed the fiercely anti-Israeli language of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but was swiftly repudiated by Iranian state media, which said unidentified news agencies had distorted Rouhani's remarks.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday responded to the Iranian president-elect's remarks, saying "Rouhani's true face has been exposed earlier than expected."
The premier warned that despite the election of the so-called moderate, "the objective of the regime - to acquire nuclear weapons to threaten Israel, the Middle East and peace and security throughout the world - has not changed."
Outgoing Iranian President Ahmadinejad also addressed Al-Quds day crowds on Friday, warning of an impending regional "storm" that would uproot Israel, AFP reported.
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"I will inform you with God as my witness, a devastating storm is on the way that will uproot the basis of Zionism," AFP quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
Ahmadinejad added that Israel "has no place in the region."
In Iran, millions marched in demonstrations Friday to show their solidarity in backing the Palestinian people, Iranian state media outlet Press TV reported.
Millions of Muslims in 80 countries across the world were expected to participate in anti-Israel protests marking the annual event.
The anti-Zionist event in support of independent Palestinian nationhood was established in 1979 by the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
According to Khomeini's instruction, Muslims are called upon to protest in the streets on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Demonstrators on Friday chanted and carried placards displaying anti-Israel and anti-US slogans, according to Press TV.
Iran's Foreign Ministry on Thursday called for the people of the Islamic Republic to condemn US-led efforts to resume peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians during rallies marking Al-Quds Day, Fars reported.
“These talks, within their predetermined framework, can never guarantee the interests and legitimate demands of the oppressed people of Palestine,” Fars quoted the statement as reading.
Israeli and Palestinian officials met on Monday in Washington to restart the peace process after a three year hiatus, with US Secretary of State John Kerry and newly-appointed US envoy to the Middle East process Martin Indyk.
Reuters contributed to this report.