News / Middle East

    Tehran Leader's Comment About Israel Raises Stir

    Iran's President-elect Hassan Rouhani, after speaking at a press conference, in Tehran, June 17, 2013.
    Iran's President-elect Hassan Rouhani, after speaking at a press conference, in Tehran, June 17, 2013.
    VOA News
    On the eve of taking office, Iran's President-elect Hassan Rouhani on Friday was at the center of controversy over remarks he reportedly made about Israel.
     
    The Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) first reported that Rouhani called Israel a "wound" that "has sat on the body of the Muslim world" and needs to be "removed." International news agencies carried the remarks and Israel's prime minister issued a swift retort.
     
    However, Iranian state television said later that accounts of Rouhani's comments were distorted. It aired video of reporters interviewing Rouhani in which he said "occupying Palestinian territories is like an old wound in the body of Islamic society."
     
    The video, viewed by VOA's Persian News Network, could not be independently verified.
     
    Rouhani's remarks came as Iranians held rallies celebrating Friday as Quds Day (Jerusalem Day). He is due to take office on Sunday.
     
    Iranian news reports say the president-elect also cast doubt on Israel's efforts to revive peace talks with Palestinians.
     
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly criticized Rouhani's reported comments, saying the Iranian leader had shown his "true face" sooner than expected. He said Rouhani's comments were part of Iran's "plan of action" against Israel.
     
    Iran has been steadfast in its rejection of Israel as a state. Israel and Western powers have accused Iran of having nuclear weapons ambitions, a charge Tehran denies. Israel has warned it will not tolerate Iran's development of a nuclear arsenal, which Israel sees as an emerging threat.

    Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.
    (This story is an updated version of an earlier report.)

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: veteran from: herat
    August 03, 2013 3:38 PM
    This just shows how this state is dangerous for humanidade.Não we understand how the world is not yet firmly reacts to this dangerous race to nuclear terrorism so that this country wants to achieve or alcançou.Será that are already there waiting for the will shoot first? (who has not sinned to be the first to throw a stone).

    by: Mike
    August 03, 2013 12:21 AM
    So he never said "Israel is an old would" or that it should be "removed".

    All he said was that the "occupation of Palestinian lands" is an old wound.

    It looks like it doesn't matter what Iranian leaders say. The liars like Bibi Netanyahu will simply misrepresent their statements, and millions of people will believe them.
    In Response

    by: Les from: Worldwide
    August 04, 2013 2:07 PM
    Mike - Everything matters , especially in proper translation . Educated or those who follow the truth knows very well , that Iran is NOT a perpetrator and overlook the reason of this uneven conflict .
    All that mess and outrages pointing the guilt on innocents has only one desire : MORE LAND and VIOLENCE , with vision of unnecessary war benefiting ever hungry for somebodies wealth .

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 02, 2013 12:16 PM
    Well, well, and well. However it's coming too early. Like the saying goes, the leopard cannot change its color. Rouhani is a true Iranian, a chip of the old block. When he commented on Israel in a previous report, it became obvious that the expectation of change from the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's acrimony against Israel was a misplaced one. Ahmadinejad hated Israel with a passion, but he sometimes made comments that could be considered suave. But Rouhani is a step above Ahmadinejad's hatred for Israel.

    He is the one that will deceive the West and strike at Israel when no one expects it. How did anyone think Rouhani - a right hand man to Ali Khamenei - will be anything friendly with civilization and Israel? Saying one is a wound that should be removed is another way of re-echoing his predecessor's denial of the holocaust. Should he be the one to start the trouble? Good he has called his own name in the darkness of the unknown future. A problem understood is half solved, the other half solution is to take appropriate action. Hope Israel is watching.

    by: Anonymous
    August 02, 2013 8:52 AM
    he never said that the wound needs to be "removed." get your facts correct or don't report
    In Response

    by: Les from: Worldwide
    August 02, 2013 6:30 PM
    It would be fair to say , that in present expansionism , Israel has no borders , which in brutality of their actions forgot to respect any International Law . If Zionists fear of healing the wounds , firstly should return occupied land and repay damages to Palestinians , than looking for peace , which they "love so much" . Arrogant demands , backed by possession of given to them nukes by US have no moral bases to expect Iranians waiting for provoked war , this time shorter than 6 days .

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