Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday that Israel is a "cancerous tumor" that will soon be destroyed, the latest in his ever-increasing hostile rhetoric toward the Jewish state.
“The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumor. Even if one cell of them is left in one inch of (Palestinian) land, in the future this story (of Israel’s existence) will repeat,” Ahmadinejad said during a state television broadcast to mark Iran’s Quds (Jerusalem) Day, an anti-Israeli demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians, Agence France-Presse reported.
According to the Associated Press, Ahmadinejad said confronting Israel is an effort to “protect the dignity of all human beings.”
“The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land.... A new Middle East will definitely be formed. With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists,” he said.
National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor condemned Ahmadinejad's comments, calling them "offensive and reprehensible."
"We strongly condemn the latest series of offensive and reprehensible comments by senior Iranian officials that are aimed at Israel," Vietor told AFP. "The entire international community should condemn this hateful and divisive rhetoric."
Vietor said if Iran is actually concerned about "protecting the rights and dignity of all human beings," it should drop its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his "brutal assault" on his people.
"Iran and Syria's blatant disregard for basic human rights is the real insult to humanity," he said.
There has been increasingly public speculation and talk about whether Israel will strike Iran's nuclear facilities, which Iran maintains are for peaceful purposes, but Israel sees as an existential threat. A report surfaced last week that said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had "almost finally" made the decision to attack.