Zarif: We never said Israel should be destroyed

Iran’s Foreign Minister insists that Iranian officials have never threatened to destroy Israel.

Elad Benari,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted on Sunday that Iranian officials had never threatened to destroy Israel.

Zarif’s remarks were made in an interview with the French magazine Le Point and were quoted by Yediot Aharonot.

"When did we ever say that we were going to destroy Israel? Show me one person who made such a statement. No one said such things," the Iranian official.

The interviewer reminded Zarif of remarks made by former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who consistently called for Israel to be wiped off the map. Among other things, in a speech at the UN General Assembly in 2012, Ahmadinejad said that "Israel has no roots in history, it will be erased."

"He did not say these things," Zarif claimed. "He only mentioned Khomeini's prophecy that Israel would not remain in the annals of history. He did not say that he would destroy it. He only noted that Israel, if it maintains its current policy, would disappear in the future."

Despite Zarif’s remarks, top Iranian officials are on record as having called for Israel’s destruction.

Chief among them is Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Just several months ago, he posted a Twitter tirade against Israel, saying that “the Zionist regime will perish in the not-so-far future.”

The Supreme Leader has several times in the past referred to the Jewish state as a “cancer” and threatened to "annihilate" the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Iran’s current president, Hassan Rouhani, who has been described as a “moderate” compared to Ahmadinejad, has called Israel a “cancerous tumor” and urged Muslim nations worldwide to unite and destroy the Jewish state.

The Iranian president has in the past called Israel “illegitimate” and lamented that the crisis in Syria has made it difficult for Iran to focus on harming Israel.

If this is not enough, Zarif himself was caught on camera several months ago as he joined in the traditional public chant against the US, UK, and Israel.

Meanwhile, on the very same day the interview with Zarif was published, a senior Iranian official who met with a Hamas delegation in Tehran predicted that widespread corruption will annihilate the “Zionist regime” of Israel.