Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on his way out of office, taking his anti-Semitic and homophobic views with him. And incoming president Hassan Rouhani already appears to be picking up the torch of anti-Semitism from his predecessor.
Two days before his inauguration, incoming president Rouhani made comments at a pro-Palestine Quds Day rally, which were then broadcast on state television, saying that Israel was a “wound.” Or, according to Reuters, his comments, in full, were: “The Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed.”
Now, Rouhani is taking back the comments somewhat, with state television reporting that he was misquoted and his remarks were taken out of context.
Here’s the real quote, according (again) to state television: “After all, in our region there’s been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved al-Qods (Jerusalem).”
Either version of the comments didn’t go over well with Israel, with President Benjamin Netanyahu raising the alarm about the incoming leader.
“The true face of Rouhani has been revealed earlier than expected,” Netanyahu said. “Even if the Iranians work to deny these comments, this is what the man thinks, and [it] reflects the regime’s plans.”
Rouhani, a cleric, is considered to be more moderate than Ahmadinejad (who touts Holocaust denial as a major presidential achievement). He was elected in June and ran on a campaign slogan of “moderation and wisdom.” During the election campaign, he spoke out against the direction Iran was heading and opposed its movement towards nuclear stand-off with the Western world.
As for Ahmadinejad, he managed to get a few more parting shots in at Israel before leaving office. According to Al-Jazeera, the president used one of his final public speeches to say that Israel “has no place in this region.”
“I will inform you with God as my witness, a devastating storm is on the way that will uproot the basis of Zionism,” Ahmadinejad told supporters at a Quds Day rally Friday.