(photo credit: AP [file])
Iran's hard-line president called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and said a new wave of Palestinian attacks will destroy the Jewish state, state-run media reported Wednesday.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also denounced attempts to recognize Israel or normalize relations with it.
"There is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will wipe off this stigma (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world," Ahmadinejad told students Wednesdays during a Tehran conference called "The World without Zionism."
"Anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury (while) any (Islamic leader) who recognizes the Zionist regime means he is acknowledging the surrender and defeat of the Islamic world," Ahmadinejad said.
Ahmadinejad also repeated the words of the founder of Iran's Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who called for the destruction of Israel.
"As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," said Ahmadinejad, who came to power in August and replaced Mohammad Khatami, a reformist who advocated inter-civilization dialogue and tried to improve Iran's relations with the West
Ahmadinejad referred to Israel's recent withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a "trick," saying Gaza is part of the Palestinian territories and the withdrawal was meant to make Islamic states acknowledge Israel.
France on Wednesday condemned Ahmadinejad's remarks. "We have noted these press articles reporting the comments of President Ahmadinejad. If these comments were indeed made, we condemn them with the utmost firmness," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said.
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