Iran was on a collision course with the West yesterday as its president defied a diplomatic onslaught led by Washington and London to withdraw his calls for Israel to be "wiped off the map".
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, supported by more than a million of his countrymen attending annual anti-Israel protest rallies in all major cities across Iran, said he stood by his remarks.
An Iranian cleric walks past an anti-Israel poster
The president marched alongside a mob of noisy students in Teheran waving placards carrying the exact words he used at an anti-Zionism rally earlier this week, and mocked Israel's strongest supporter, the United States.
"They become upset when they hear any voice of truth-seeking, " he said. "They think they are the absolute rulers of the world."
By returning so bluntly to the old anti-Israel rhetoric common during Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979, the president has radically changed Iran's relations with the West.
After a decade when most observers believed that the Islamic Republic had become more modern, Mr Ahmadinejad has taken a more hardline position.
With Iran continuing work on its nuclear programme, it is a change of policy with potentially enormous implications.
The Grim Milestone of Blogs "I find the language and rhetoric coming from America too confrontational" - Prince Charles "Nuts" - Gen McAuliffe America: Saving idiots from themselves since WWI
Friday, October 28, 2005
Iran 'on collision course' (Telegraph, UK)
Ahmadinijad [you can't misspell it in English, relax]