Ahead of his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wouldn’t back down from inflammatory comments he made on Monday, suggesting that Israel should be “eliminated.”
When asked on Wednesday about remarks in which he said that Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be “eliminated,” Ahmadinejad skirted the question. “When have we threatened to attack the Zionists? We have never threatened them,” Ahmadinejad said through a translator, in an interview that aired on CBS’s Early Morning.
When pressed, he did not deny that he said Israel should be eliminated, adding that Iran has said Israel’s “occupation,” “war-like behavior,” and “terrorism” should be done away with.
“We have said that the solution is that the Palestinian people should decide in a free election for their own country, their own land,” Ahmadinejad said.
When asked about his inflammatory speech to the U.N. last year, Ahmadinejad pushed back, pointing out that President Obama is free to say what he wants about Iran.
“Every year the United States of America’s President comes [to the U.N.] and speaks ill of Iran. I sit there and listen. Are we outraged, are we inflamed?” Ahmadinejad said. “I think the United States must increase her level of patience and others must be granted their due freedoms… They are not even willing to sit there under the same roof and listen.”