25 Sep 2012

Ahmadinejad says inevitable Israel will be eliminated

9:16 pm on 25 September 2012

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and will inevitably be eliminated.

Disregarding a United Nations warning to avoid inflammatory talk ahead of the annual General Assembly session, Mr Ahmadinejad told reporters on Monday he does not take seriously the threat of an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could strike Iran's nuclear sites and criticised American President Barack Obama's position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Reuters reports.

"Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists," Mr Ahmadinejad, in New York for this week's General Assembly, told reporters. "We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves."

"Iran has been around for the last seven, 10 thousand years. They (the Israelis) have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history," he said, referring to the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948.

Mr Ahmadinejad is due to speak at the General Assembly on Wednesday.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met him on Sunday and warned him of the dangers of incendiary rhetoric in the Middle East.

Iran denies it is seeking nuclear arms and says its atomic work is aimed at generating electricity.

Mr Ahmadinejad says the nuclear issue is ultimately between the United States and Iran, and must be resolved with negotiations.