Hasan Rouhani called Israel an “old wound” at a rally in Tehran held in solidarity with the Palestinian people on International Al-Quds day.
Speaking two days before his official inauguration as President of Iran, Rouhani is quoted to have said that “the Zionist regime has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world for years.”
The Israeli press reported that Rouhani continued to say that “this wound should be removed”, although Iranian state television denies this.
Fars, a semi-official Iranian news agency, claimed that Rouhani also expressed his doubts about the possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, stating that “Israelis show a comprising face to the world but continue their expansionism in practice”.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to these remarks on Friday: “He has revealed his true face sooner than expected…even if others hasten to deny his remarks, this is what the man thinks and this is the plan of the Iranian regime”.
Mr Netanyahu concluded by stressing that “There’s a new president, but the intentions of Iran remain the same, to obtain nuclear weapons that will threaten Israel, the Middle East and the peace and security of the entire world.”