Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani called Israel Saturday a “cancerous tumor” established by Western countries to advance their interests in the Middle East.
Iran’s leaders frequently blame Israel and call for the annihilation of the Jewish state, but Rouhani, a relative moderate, rarely employs such rhetoric.
Addressing an annual Islamic Unity Conference, Rouhani said “one of the ominous results of World War II was the formation of a cancerous tumor in the region.” He went on to refer to Israel as a “fake regime” set up by Western countries.
In his remarks, Rouhani called the Jewish state the most “daunting threat” to global peace.
Rouhani says the United States cultivates close ties with “regional Muslim nations” to protect Israel, an apparent reference to Iran’s archrivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Iran supports terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas that are pledged to Israel’s destruction.
“Israel knows very well how to defend itself from the murderous Iranian regime. Rouhani’s slander, which calls for the destruction of Israel, proves yet again why the nations of the world need to join in the sanctions against the Iranian terrorist regime which threatens them”, Netanyahu tweeted in response.