By Nader Uskowi
A day after Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that the ‘fake and bogus’ state of Israel will disappear, the country’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told a rally in Tehran commemorating the Quds (Jerusalem) Day that there was no place for Israel in a future Middle East.
“You want a new Middle East? We do too, but in the new Middle East ... there will be no trace of the American presence and the Zionists (Israel),” Ahmadinejad said.
Of course the U.S. is not part of the Middle East, but Israel is. How could there be no trace of it in the region? How does Ahmadinejad hope to achieve that goal? If his comments were not callous hyperbole, which they could very well be, they were one of the most threatening and dangerous comments ever made by an Iranian leader against the very existence of the state of Israel.
When Ahmadinejad had started his presidency, he made a controversial comment on wiping Israel off the map. Many supporters of the Islamic Republic at the time accused the press of mistranslating and misinterpreting the new president’s comments. They argued that they were not meant as existential threat against Israel. After seven years in presidency, he essentially makes the same comments. And there are no other ways to translate and interpret these latest comments.
Of course Israel has on too many occasions threatened to strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, but this blogger does not recall any instance of Israel threatening the very existence of the state of Iran, presumably through a nuclear war. Using such threatening comments against Israel is uncalled for and is indicative of the hatred of the Iranian leadership toward the Jewish state; a hatred that has transcended into the state ideology.
In the very tense situation in the region these days, the hope is that the cooler heads prevail. Callous use of language could only spiral into even more dangerous situation that the leaders on both sides need to carefully avoid.
Photo Credit: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the recent Mecca Summit. REUTERS/Susan Baaghli