NEW YORK – Iran does not take seriously Israeli threats of attack, but is prepared to defend itself, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday, while saying that Israel has “no roots” in the history of the Middle East and would be “eliminated”.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could strike Iran’s nuclear sites and has criticised US President’s position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Iran denies that it is seeking nuclear arms and says its atomic work is peaceful, aimed at generating electricity.
“Fundamentally, we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists. We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves,” Ahmadinejad told reporters in New York, where he is due to attend the UN General Assembly.
“While we are fully ready to defend ourselves, we do not take such threats seriously,” he said, speaking through an interpreter. Ahmadinejad alluded to his previous rejection of Israel’s right to exist. “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.