AFP: Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday described arch-foe Israel as “the flag of Satan” and said the Jewish state was destined to fall apart, the official IRNA news agency reported. TEHRAN, Aug 18, 2007 (AFP) – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday described arch-foe Israel as “the flag of Satan” and said the Jewish state was destined to fall apart, the official IRNA news agency reported.
“The Zionist regime is the flag bearer of violation and occupation and this regime is the flag of Satan,” Ahmadinejad told an international religious conference in Tehran.
“It is not unlikely that this regime be on the path to dissolution and deterioration when the philosophy behind its creation and survival is invalid,” he said.
His comments came in the wake of a 30-billion-dollar arms deal between Israel and the United States which explicitly mentioned the threat of a “resurgent” Iran.
Washington and Israel, which is widely considered to be the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear power, are increasingly alarmed by Iran’s nuclear programme, which they suspect is a cover to develop atomic weapons.
Tehran insists the programme is for peaceful, civilian energy purposes.
“The United States understands that Israel lives in an increasingly dangerous region… where Iran is resurgent, where Iran is seeking a nuclear capability, where it is seeking to expand its conventional power,” US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said before signing the memorandum of understanding for the aid package in Jerusalem on Thursday.
“There is now a nexus of cooperation between Iran, Syria, Hezbollah… and other groups that are responsible for conflict in this region,” including the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Burns said.
With current US defence aid to Israel standing at 2.4 billion dollars a year, the new package will raise the value of assistance by 600 million dollars annually on average, officials said.
Iran is also the ostensible reason for Washington’s controversial plans to install a missile defence system in eastern Europe, a move which has sparked fierce condemnation from Russia.
The US military wants to build a radar station in the Czech Republic and a launching site in Poland with 10 long-range interceptors capable of shooting down missiles.
It claims the system would defend Europe against attack from limited missile strikes by smaller military powers such as Iran.
Ahmadinejad claimed on Thursday that if deployed, the US system would threaten all of Asia.
“Such a plan goes beyond threatening one country. It concerns most of the continent, Asia,” he said at a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), according to a translation by organisers.
Iran has observer status in the SCO, which comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Iran consistently refuses to recognise Israel’s right to exist in the Middle East, and Ahmadinejad sparked outrage in the international community when he said Israel should be “wiped off the map” shortly after coming to power in 2005.
In June he said a “countdown” had begun that would end with Lebanese and Palestinian militants destroying Israel. His government last year hosted a conference on the Holocaust, questioning the German Nazi genocide of the Jews during World War II.