Khamenei predicts Israel's destruction

Iranian leader accuses Israel of genocide against Palestinians.

 supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (photo credit: AP)
supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
(photo credit: AP)

Iran'ssupreme leader predicted the destruction of Israel in comments postedon his Web site on Wednesday, in some of his strongest remarks in yearsabout the Jewish state.

In the past, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hascalled Israel a "cancerous tumor" that must be wiped from the map, butthe new comments mark the first time in years he has openly speculatedabout Israel's demise.

"Definitely, the day will come whennations of the region will witness the destruction of the Zionistregime," Khamenei was quoted as saying. "How soon or late (Israel'sdemise) will happen depends on how Islamic countries and Muslim nationsapproach the issue." He did not elaborate.

Khamenei, who made thecomments during a meeting with the Mauritanian president on Tuesday,also accused Israel of trying to destroy the Palestinians "throughcontinued pressure, blockades and genocide." He said the Jewish statewill not succeed.

Khamenei's comments come as the world marksInternational Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, the 65thanniversary of the liberation of the Nazi-run Auschwitz death camp.

Iran does not recognize Israel, and the two countries have been bitter enemies since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979, and current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel's destruction.

Teheranis accused of supporting Lebanon's Shi'ite Muslim terrorist group,Hizbullah, which fought Israel until it withdrew it soldiers fromsouthern Lebanon in 2000. Hizbullah continues to launch occasionalattacks against Israeli troops in a disputed strip of land on Lebanon'ssouthern border. Teheran also backs Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip.