'Palestinians can't be wiped off map'

Iranian FM denies he was referring to Israel in speech at Jordan conference.

mottaki in jordan 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
mottaki in jordan 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki denied on Saturday that he had been referring to Israel when he told journalists at the World Economic Forum in Jordan that "a nation cannot be wiped off the map." Mottaki told IRNA, the official Iranian news agency, that what he had actually said was that "every pupil knows that a nation like the Palestinians cannot be eliminated from the map." The foreign minister added that the Islamic revolution in his country had forced Iran to sever certain ties the Shah had maintained - namely, South Africa and "the Zionist regime." Mottaki reiterated Iran's refusal to recognize Israel, saying that Iran had "cast a negative vote on the Zionist regime's credential in the UN." While Mottaki did not specifically refer to Israel as an apartheid state, he pointed out that, "After the collapse of the apartheid regime in South Africa, Iran [now had] very good ties with that country." The Iranian delegation to the Jordanian conference returned to Teheran on Saturday evening.