On the eve of his inauguration, Hassan Rohani told reporters that Israel was “a foreign body that needs to be eradicated”.
Hassan Rohani, 64 years old, was elected President of the Islamic Republic of Iran on June 14th, succeeding Ahmadinejad, in power since 2005. He is known for his moderation and claims to be open to dialogue with the West.
The former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Israel of being enchanted by the unrest in Syria. State television showed on Friday hundreds of thousands of people marching through the country for the Al-Quds Day, chanting “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.” The protesters also denounced the resumption of negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel this week.
Tehran does not recognize Israel and Iranian officials call the Jewish state «illegitimate Zionist regime.”
Mr. Rouhani said “The Zionist regime has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world for years and the wound should be removed”.
In reference to this week’s peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority under the auspices of Washington, he accused “Israel to maintain its aggressive nature.”
Israel, the enemy number one of the Iranian Islamic Republic, reacted immediately; Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, responded by saying Rouhani had shown his “true face”.
Before leaving office on Saturday, Ex-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said before the crowd of protesters in Tehran. “I inform you, and God is my witness, a devastating storm will uproot the basis of Zionism,” and added that Israel “has no place in this region.”
In his speech, Ahmadinejad accused Israel and the West of fomenting discord in the region. “It was their dream to see the countries of the region determined to destroy and diverted to civil war.”
However, some newspapers mentioned that there were reports by some news agencies distorting the president-elect’s remarks and that it was wrongly reported that Rohani had called Israel a “wound that must be cleansed”.
They even announce that The Iranian President-elect made no mention of Israel’s removal in his interview.