United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has rebuked Iran over its leadership's anti-Israel threats to annihilate the State of Israel.
Ban described the rhetoric as “offensive and inflammatory,” and said in a statement the region's leadership should use its voices to lower, rather than raise tensions.
Both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini separately vowed last week that a “new Middle East” would someday be without Israel.
Ahmadinejad added in a “Quds Day” speech to thousands of shrieking supporters at a Tehran University rally on Friday that Americans would be omitted from the region as well. The day marked the final Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Earlier in the week, Khameini had said in similar remarks that Israel would some day be “returned” to the “Palestinian nation” and cease to exist.
It is Iran's Supreme Leader who ultimately exerts control over the country's nuclear development policy, and its uranium enrichment activities. Those programs are galloping ahead despite all efforts by the international community to persuade Iran to slow down – if not altogether halt – its hurtle towards nuclear capability.
Numerous international intelligence agencies have reported the Islamic republic has already achieved, or is close to achieving, the ability to build an atomic weapon of mass destruction.