By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer - Iran Leader Reiterates Anti-Israel Stance
1 hour, 24 minutes ago
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran's ultraconservative president — spurning international outrage over his remarks about Israel — joined more than a million demonstrators who flooded the streets of the capital and other major cities Friday to back his call for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood fast behind his assertion that Israel should be wiped off the map and repeated the call during the nationwide protests Friday, the Muslim day of prayer.
But in an apparent attempt to blunt international outrage over Ahmadinejad's comments, the Iranian Embassy in Moscow issued a statement saying the Iranian leader did not want to "engage in a conflict."
Marching alongside the protesters, the 47-year-old former mayor of Tehran and one-time Republican Guard commander renewed his criticism of the West.
"They become upset when they hear any voice of truth-seeking. They think they are the absolute rulers of the world," he said during the al-Quds — or Jerusalem — Day protest, which was among the largest since they were first held in 1979 after Shiite Muslim clerics took power in Iran.
His fellow marchers carried placards reading "Death to Israel, death to America." It is not uncommon for an Iranian president to join marches in the capital. Ahmadinejad was accompanied by five bodyguards, but otherwise security was not out of the ordinary for such an event.
Despite Ahmadinejad's continued harsh attacks on the West, former President Hashemi Rafsanjani tried to dial back the rhetoric, suggesting that Israelis and Palestinians hold a referendum to decide the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
"If Muslims and Palestinians agree (to a referendum), it will be a retreat but let's still hold a referendum," Rafsanjani said in his Friday prayer sermon.
The Iranian Embassy statement in Moscow said Ahmadinejad "did not have any intention to speak in sharp terms and engage in a conflict."
But that was not the message carried by the at least 200,000 Iranians who massed in Tehran to unleashed virulent condemnation against Israel, the United States and the West in general, accusing them of oppressing Palestinians and Iran.
Some demonstrators chanted "Israel is approaching its death" and wore white shrouds in a symbolic gesture expressing readiness to die for their cause.
A resolution was read at the end of the rallies backing "the position declared by the president that the Zionist regime must be wiped out."
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki defended his president's comments, saying they represented Iran's long-held policy of not recognizing Israel.
"Unfortunately the Western countries have remained silent on the increasing inhuman activities of Israel," Mottaki said at the Tehran march.
Protests attracted at least 100,000 in each of Iran's eight largest cities, according to AP reporters. State television said millions of people assembled throughout the country. Major rallies also were held in other Middle Eastern countries.
In Beirut, the militant Hezbollah group marked the day by staging a parade that saw more than 6,000 guerrillas march in uniform through the streets of the Lebanese capital.
The Shiite group, which supports it Iranian mentors, has sought to strengthen its position in Lebanon after the withdrawal of Syrian troops.
At least 30,000 Bahrainis marched in their capital, Manama, burning Israeli and American flags and demanding their government rescind its recent decision to end its economic embargo of the Jewish state.
The United States said the Iranian leader's remarks have only underscored Washington's concern over Iran's nuclear program. Israel said Iran should be suspended from the United Nations. U.N. chief Kofi Annan expressed "dismay" at the comments in a rare rebuke of a U.N. member state.
The Vatican condemned as "unacceptable" statements denying the right of Israel to exist, although it did not mention Iran by name. The U.N. Security Council also condemned the remarks, while Russia summoned the Iranian ambassador seeking an explanation for the president's words.
Iran's seven state-run TV stations devoted coverage Friday to programs condemning the Jewish state and praising the Palestinian resistance since the 1948 creation of Israel.
Three stations also showed live coverage of crowds of people gathering Friday in streets throughout Tehran.
In Washington, the State Department said it was skeptical the demonstrators had gone into the streets voluntarily.
"I think you have over the past decade seen examples of the Iranian regime organizing protests in support of some of their more outrageous policies," spokesman Sean McCormack said.
After Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini toppled the pro-Western Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979, he declared the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as an international day of struggle against Israel and for the liberation of Jerusalem. The founder of the Islamic regime had also called for Israel's destruction.
Important historical events are moving by at such a rapid pace, I've become a slave to the MSM, the classic parasitic-recorder-of-MSM-work- blog if you will.
Therefore, I've tried to make it real - glaringly - obvious who wrote this stuff.
UPDATE: MEMRI: text: Iranian President at Tehran Conference: "Very Soon, This Stain of Disgrace [i.e. Israel] Will Vanish from the Center of the Islamic World - and This is Attainable"
The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), published the full text of Ahmadinejad's speech. The following is a translation of excerpts from ISNA's report and from the speech. 
"Prior to his statement, Ahmadinejad said that if you plan to chant the slogan 'Death to Israel,' say it in the right and complete way.
"The president warned the leaders of the Islamic world that they should be wary of Fitna [civil strife]: 'If someone is under the pressure of hegemonic power [i.e. the West] and understands that something is wrong, or he is naïve, or he is an egotist and his hedonism leads him to recognize the Zionist regime – he should know that he will burn in the fire of the Islamic Ummah [nation]…'
"Ahmadinejad articulated the real meaning of Zionism: '...We must see what the real story of Palestine is... The establishment of the regime that is occupying Jerusalem was a very grave move by the hegemonic and arrogant system [i.e. the West] against the Islamic world. We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance [i.e. the West] and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years.
"'In this historical war, the situation at the fronts has changed many times. During some periods, the Muslims were the victors and were very active, and looked forward, and the World of Arrogance was in retreat.
"'Unfortunately, in the past 300 years, the Islamic world has been in retreat vis-à-vis the World of Arrogance… During the period of the last 100 years, the [walls of the] world of Islam were destroyed and the World of Arrogance turned the regime occupying Jerusalem into a bridge for its dominance over the Islamic world...
"'This occupying country [i.e. Israel ] is in fact a front of the World of Arrogance in the heart of the Islamic world. They have in fact built a bastion [ Israel ] from which they can expand their rule to the entire Islamic world... This means that the current war in Palestine is the front line of the Islamic world against the World of Arrogance, and will determine the fate of Palestine for centuries to come.
"'Today the Palestinian nation stands against the hegemonic system as the representative of the Islamic Ummah [nation]. Thanks to God, since the Palestinian people adopted the Islamic war and the Islamic goals, and since their struggle has become Islamic in its attitude and orientation, we have been witnessing the progress and success of the Palestinian people.'
"Ahmadinejad said: 'The issue of this [World without Zionism] conference is very valuable. In this very grave war, many people are trying to scatter grains of desperation and hopelessness regarding the struggle between the Islamic world and the front of the infidels, and in their hearts they want to empty the Islamic world.
"'... They [ask]: 'Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?' But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved…
"'When the dear Imam [Khomeini] said that [the Shah's] regime must go, and that we demand a world without dependent governments, many people who claimed to have political and other knowledge [asked], 'Is it possible [that the Shah's regime can be toppled]?'
"'That day, when Imam [Khomeini] began his movement, all the powers supported [the Shah's] corrupt regime… and said it was not possible. However, our nation stood firm, and by now we have, for 27 years, been living without a government dependent on America. Imam [Khomeni] said: 'The rule of the East [U.S.S.R.] and of the West [ U.S. ] should be ended.' But the weak people who saw only the tiny world near them did not believe it.
"'Nobody believed that we would one day witness the collapse of the Eastern Imperialism [i.e. the U.S.S.R], and said it was an iron regime. But in our short lifetime we have witnessed how this regime collapsed in such a way that we must look for it in libraries, and we can find no literature about it.
"'Imam [Khomeini] said that Saddam [Hussein] must go, and that he would be humiliated in a way that was unprecedented. And what do you see today? A man who, 10 years ago, spoke as proudly as if he would live for eternity is today chained by the feet, and is now being tried in his own country...
"'Imam [Khomeini] said: 'This regime that is occupying Qods [ Jerusalem ] must be eliminated from the pages of history.' This sentence is very wise. The issue of Palestine is not an issue on which we can compromise.
"'Is it possible that an [Islamic] front allows another front [i.e. country] to arise in its [own] heart? This means defeat, and he who accepts the existence of this regime [i.e. Israel ] in fact signs the defeat of the Islamic world.
"'In his battle against the World of Arrogance, our dear Imam [Khomeini] set the regime occupying Qods [ Jerusalem ] as the target of his fight.
"'I do not doubt that the new wave which has begun in our dear Palestine and which today we are also witnessing in the Islamic world is a wave of morality which has spread all over the Islamic world. Very soon, this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel ] will vanish from the center of the Islamic world – and this is attainable.
"'But we must be wary of Fitna. For more than 50 years, the World of Arrogance has tried to give recognition to the existence of this falsified regime [ Israel ]. With its first steps, and then with further steps, it has tried hard in this direction to stabilize it.
"'Regrettably, 27 or 28 years ago... one of the countries of the first line [i.e. Egypt ] made this failure [of recognizing Israel ] – and we still hope that they will correct it.
"'Lately we have new Fitna underway… With the forced evacuation [of Gaza ] that was imposed by the Palestinian people, they [the Israelis] evacuated only a corner. [ Israel ] declared this as the final victory and, on the pretext of evacuating Gaza and establishing a Palestinian government, tried to put an end to the hopes of the Palestinians.
"'Today, [ Israel ] seeks, satanically and deceitfully, to gain control of the front of war. It is trying to influence the Palestinian groups in Palestine so as to preoccupy them with political issues and jobs – so that they relinquish the Palestinian cause that determines their destiny, and come into conflict with each other.
"'On the pretext of goodwill, they [ Israel ] intended, by evacuating the Gaza strip, to gain recognition of its corrupt regime by some Islamic states. I very much hope, and ask God, that the Palestinian people and the dear Palestinian groups will be wary of this Fitna.
"'The issue of Palestine is by no means over, and will end only when all of Palestine will have a government belonging to the Palestinian people. The refugees must return to their homes, and there must be a government that has come to power by the will of the [Palestinian] people. And, of course those [i.e. the Jews] who came to this country from far away to plunder it have no right to decide anything for the [Palestinian] people.
"'I hope that the Palestinians will maintain their wariness and intelligence, much as they have pursued their battles in the past 10 years. This will be a short period, and if we pass through it successfully, the process of the elimination of the Zionist regime will be smooth and simple.
"'I warn all the leaders of the Islamic world to be wary of Fitna: If someone is under the pressure of hegemonic power [i.e. the West] and understands that something is wrong, or he is naïve, or he is an egotist and his hedonism leads him to recognize the Zionist regime – he should know that he will burn in the fire of the Islamic Ummah [nation]…
"'The people who sit in closed rooms cannot decide on this matter. The Islamic people cannot allow this historical enemy to exist in the heart of the Islamic world.
"'Oh dear people, look at this global arena. By whom are we confronted? We must understand the depth of the disgrace imposed on us by the enemy, until our holy hatred expands continuously and strikes like a wave.'"
 Iranian Students News Agency (Iran), October 26, 2005, Link
Army has control of Iranian "nukes"