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.)

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    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 .

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.