I had to dig this one up...from late last year!


Iran stages anti-Israel hate fest
Tens of thousands of regime loyalists stage huge rallies in Tehran streets for Jerusalem Day.
By Laurent Lozano - TEHRAN

Iran was Friday holding its annual anti-Israeli hate fest with huge rallies across the country, shrugging off widespread condemnation of its president's call for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map".

Tens of thousands of regime loyalists were taking to take to the streets of Tehran for "Jerusalem Day" - a carnival-style event heavy on bloodthirsty rhetoric that includes would-be militants signing up for suicide bombing missions.

But this year's event comes amid a storm over the remarks by hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who on Wednesday called for Israel's annihilation and spoke of an age-old war between Islam and the West.

He also told a conference entitled "The World without Zionism" that "the establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world."

The Palestinian fight against Israel is one of the central dogma of the Islamic regime in Iran, but Ahmadinejad's fiery speech was the first time in years that such a high-ranking official has openly demanded Israel's destruction.

His comments have been hugely damaging for Iran's image, already under intense Western pressure over its nuclear energy programme - suspected as being a cover for weapons development - and facing the prospect of seeing the issue referred to the UN Security Council.

But Tehran, which insists its nuclear intentions are peaceful, was unrepentant, with the spokesman of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Seyed Massoud Jazihiri, describing Israel as a "cancerous tumour".

Iranian media has largely ignored the international furore, while state television was Friday broadcasting continuous footage of Palestinians being beaten, shot or arrested by Israeli troops.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he felt "a real sense of revulsion" over Ahmadinejad's comments.

"If they continue down this path, then people are going to believe that they are a real threat to our world security and stability," he told reporters after a European Union summit near London on Thursday.

In an apparent reference to the United States, Blair said "we will have discussions with our main allies over the next few days" on how to respond to Ahmadinejad's remarks.

"Their attitude towards Israel, their attitude towards terrorism, their attitude towards the nuclear weapons issue - it isn't acceptable," said Blair.

French President Jacques Chirac was equally upset, calling his Iranian counterpart's words "senseless and irresponsible", while a joint EU statement said the remarks were "inconsistent with any claim to be a mature and responsible member of the international community."

The EU has been trying to lure Iran to abandon its nuclear fuel drive in exchange for trade and other incentives, but Tehran has rejected such a deal and the dialogue has been broken off since August.

Israel, which alleges Iran is seeking nuclear weapons and long-range missiles that could strike at its heart, is pushing for Islamic republic to be thrown out of the United Nations.

UN chief Kofi Annan also expressed "dismay" over the comments by Ahmadinejad, a straight-talking hardliner and Revolutionary Guards veteran who won a shock election win in June.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose country is Israel's main regional ally, also urged Iran to apply "political sobriety".

Ahmadinejad had also said that "anyone who signs a treaty which recognizes the entity of Israel means he has signed the surrender of the Muslim world," and warned Muslim leaders who recognise Israel that they "face the wrath of their own people."