Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad compared Israel to an annoying insect Saturday, maintaining that the Jewish state poses no threat to Tehran’s nuclear program.
"Israel is nothing more than a mosquito which cannot see the broad horizon of the Iranian nation," he said in northeastern Iran's Khorassan province, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
Ahmadinejad said "regional states" were being duped into buying billions of dollars worth of arms from "arrogant and imperial powers," driven, in part, by increasing speculation of an imminent war involving Iran and Israel, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.
Such military purchases, he said, are unnecessary because there is no such war on the horizon.
The Iranian president alluded to "rulers" who sold "their petrol" for $60 billion worth in arms. While he did not explicitly mention the names of countries, Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a 20-year, $60 billion arms deal with the United States, including nearly $30 billion for F-15 fighter jets announced late last year.
Ahmadinejad also maintained that war is not essential to achieve the “destruction of Israel,” IRNA reported. “If countries of the region cut ties with the Zionists and giver them dirty looks, it will spell the end of this puppet regime,” he said.
Ahmadinejad has long denied the Holocaust and has threatened to obliterate the Jewish state, calling it a “cancerous tumor.”
Only a few months after taking office in October 2005, the Iranian President asserted that, "With the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism," according to an IRNA report.
Last week Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "blasted the U.S. war-mongering rhetoric against Iran," including President Barack Obama's assertion that "all options are on the table." He added that war "can be 10 times more harmful to" the United States than Iran, according to a Fars report.
Fearful of an imminent Israeli attack, Western powers continue to impose sanction on the regime, exhausting diplomatic solutions in an effort to curtail Iranian ambitions and the likelihood of an Israeli strike.
Last month nuclear talks were held in Istanbul, Turkey between international and Iranian diplomats in an effort to curb the Iranian program, which EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton described as "constructive and useful."
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said last week that he was optimistic that there would be progress in continued talks with the United States, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain- the so-called P5+1, Fars reported. The parties are scheduled to meet again in Baghdad on May 23.
Prior to the meeting in Baghdad, discussions will be held in Vienna, Austria on Monday and Tuesday to address "outstanding issues and remove ambiguities," Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali-Asghar Soltanieh said, according to Fars.