Peres: Ahmadinejad to end up like Iraq’s Saddam

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Haaretz.com 041406
Peres: Ahmadinejad to end up like Iraq’s Saddam

By News Agencies

In a first Israeli response to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s
latest warnings against Israel, Kadima no. 2 Shimon Peres said on Saturday
that Tehran’s leader will eventually pay the price for his vigilant
statements and actions.

Speaking to an Israel Radio reporter, Peres said “Ahmadinejad’s statements
remind those of Saddam and he will end up the same way as Hussein has.”

On Friday Ahmadinejad called Israel a “rotten, dried tree” that will be
annihilated by “one storm.”

Peres gave the statement as personal commentary. Israel did not, however,
make an official response to Ahmadinejad’s latest speech.

“Ahmadinejad represents Satan, not God,” the veteran statesman said, adding
that “history knew how to denounce madmen and those who wave their sword,
and all those who acted this way ended their careers accordingly.”

Peres also said that “Iran is a United Nations member state threatening
another UN member state and the international organization will not let this
go unheeded.”

“The Iranian president is uniting the entire world against him. Israel is
following his statements and actions closely, but does not wish to respond
to them,” he said.

Supporting Hamas in Tehran

Days after announcing that Iran had successfully enriched uranium, the
Iranian President Friday fired a series of verbal shots at Israel, saying it
was a “permanent threat” to the Middle East that will “soon” be liberated,
and again questioning the validity of the Nazi Holocaust against Jews in
World War II.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Qods (Jerusalem) conference in
Tehran on supporting the Palestinians, Ahmadinejad said “like it or not, the
Zionist regime is heading toward annihiliation.”

“The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one
storm,” he said.

“The existence of the Zionist regime is tantamount to an imposition of an
unending and unrestrained threat so that none of the nations and Islamic
countries of the region and beyond can feel secure from its threat,”
Ahmadinejad said.

World outcry at previous Holocaust comments

The president provoked a world outcry last October when he said Israel
should be “wiped off the map.” On Friday, he repeated his previous line on
the Holocaust, saying: “If such a disaster is true, why should the people of
this region pay the price? Why does the Palestinian nation have to be
suppressed and have its land occupied?”

“There might be doubts in the Holocaust, but there are definitely no doubts
about the holocaust happening in the recent years in Palestine,” Ahmadinejad
said.

The land of Palestine, he said, referring to the British mandated territory
that includes all of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, “will be freed soon.”

He did not say how this would be achieved, but insisted to the audience of
at least 900 people: “Believe that Palestine will be freed soon.”

In February, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had said Ahmadinejad’s
October 2005 comments had been misunderstood and that he had been speaking
about the Israeli “regime,” not the country. Mottaki had said a country
could not be removed from the map.

Generals warn of military potential of nuclear Iran

The president spoke days after two Israeli generals spoke of the military
potential of Iran’s nuclear program. (For more on Iran, read the Iran Time
Saver on Rosner’s Domain)

The chief of Israeli military intelligence, Major General Amos Yadlin, was
quoted Wednesday as saying Iran could develop a nuclear bomb “within three
years, by the end of the decade.”

The day before Ahmadinejad had announced that Iran had successfully enriched
uranium using a battery of 164 centrifuges, a significant step toward the
large-scale production of enriched uranium required for either fueling
nuclear reactors or making nuclear bombs.

The United States, France and Israel accuse Iran of using a civilian nuclear
program to secretly build an atomic bomb. Iran denies this, saying its
program is confined to generating electricity.

The United Nations Security Council has given Iran until April 28 to cease
enrichment. But Iran has rejected the demand.

Khamenei calls on Islamic world to back Hamas against Israel
Also Friday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on the
Islamic world to support Hamas and its resistance against Israel.

“The Islamic world is obliged to help [Hamas] in all possible ways and
support continuation of this holy path [of resistance against Israel],”
Khamenei said in the opening ceremony of the conference.

One of the main aims of the international conference is to raise funds for
the Palestinian Authority, which has lost much of its international aid
since Hamas formed the new Palestinian government. Hamas refuses to renounce
violence, accept Israel’s right to exist or abide by peace agreements signed
by the previous PA government.

The Ayatollah called on the United States and the West to respect the
democratically-elected government in Palestine and control Israeli
aggression.

“Like the U.S. failed in gaining victory in Iraq, the Americans will also
fail in realizing their aim of a Zionist-dominated Middle East,” said
Khamenei, who constitutionally has the final say on all state affairs in
Iran.

Iran is a fierce supporter of Hamas and had termed the group’s victory in
last January’s parliamentary elections as “Palestinians’ democratic choice
for resistance.”

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Thanks to David Keppel for sending this to us.