- Last Updated: 3:52 AM, August 18, 2012
- Posted: 1:10 AM, August 18, 2012
TEHRAN, Iran — Israel’s existence is an “insult to all humanity,” Iran’s president said yesterday in one of his sharpest attacks yet against the Jewish state, as Israel openly debates whether to attack Iran over its nuclear program.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said confronting Israel is an effort to “protect the dignity of all human beings.”
“The existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to all humanity,” Ahmadinejad said. He was addressing worshippers at Tehran University after nationwide pro-Palestinian rallies, an annual event marking Jerusalem Day on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.
Israel considers Iran a threat to its existence because of its nuclear and missile programs, support for radical anti-Israel groups on its borders, and repeated references by Iranian leaders to Israel’s destruction. Ahmadinejad himself has repeatedly made such calls, as has Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
, saying its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at producing electricity and radioisotopes used to treat cancer patients.Israel has been carrying on an increasingly public debate about whether to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Iran has denied charges that it is seeking to build nuclear weapons.
Israel’s official position is to favor diplomatic and economic measures to persuade Iran to halt its uranium-enrichment program, but Israel insists that Iran must not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons. Israeli leaders say “all options are on the table,” a clear reference to a military strike.