The "Moderate" Iranian Ayatollah Speaks Out on Israel

The “moderate” two-time former Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani has pulled through his bitter presidential loss to the hardliner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad enough to ease public sentiment about the current crisis with Israel:

Rafsanjani said earlier this month that the Muslim world would win a nuclear exchange with Israel, aggravating fears Tehran’s quest for atomic weapons indeed has one purpose: the annihilation of what it calls the Zionist “cancer.”

“[The] application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel – but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world,” Hashemi-Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by the government-controlled Iran Press Service.

The spiritual leader, who wields ultimate power in Iran, made the comments during a prayer service in Tehran. It was the first time an Islamic leader of such prominence openly suggested a nuclear attack against the Jewish state, media analysts told the IPS.

Iran has been pursuing atomic weapons in defiance of international demands.

Concerns over Iran’s nuclear efforts grew exponentially last month when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a conference in Tehran that Israel should be “wiped off the map.”

Hat Tip Papa Ray

In 2001, Rafsanjani also called on Muslim states to nuke Israel.

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