Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali KhameneiIsrael news photo: (file)

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, promised Wednesday at a meeting with Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz that Israel would be annihilated soon. Abdel Aziz was winding up a two-day visit to Iran aimed at strengthening bilateral ties.

According to the Iranian state-run Fars News Agency (FNA), Khamenei said “the region would soon witness annihilation of the Zionist regime.” He added that the timetable for the destruction would depend on “the functioning of the Islamic countries and Muslim nations.”

Khamenei controls Iran's foreign policy, including its nuclear technology development and its decisions to defy the United Nations mandate against its uranium enrichment program. However, some doubt has recently been cast on the strength of his position, given the powerful anti-government protests across the country. His family members have already been spirited out of the country to a safer location, opposition activists reported several weeks ago.

The Iranian leader praised Mauritania's severing of diplomatic ties with Israel last year following the IDF's launch of the counter-terrorist Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Israel's military incursion was largely successful in stilling the thousands of rocket and mortar shell attacks that had been constantly fired by terrorists from the region at civilians in southern Israel for eight years.

"The Zionist regime is a big danger to the Muslim world, [one] which hatches plots every day to expand its infiltration and dominance in the region,” Khamenei claimed. He accused Israel of carrying out a campaign of  harassment against Palestinian Authority Arabs, and said the Netanyahu government was continuing “pressures, siege and genocide in Palestine to remove the country's Islamic identity.”  However, he said, “it will surely fail.”

The Mauritanian president responded with praise for Iran's efforts “to establish peace and tranquility” in the region.