Israel's existence is an "insult to all humanity", Iran's president has said in his latest attack on the Jewish state.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said confronting Israel was an attempt to "protect the dignity of all human beings" as "the existence of the Zionist regime is an insult to all humanity".
He was addressing worshippers at Tehran University after nationwide pro-Palestinian rallies marking al-Quds Day (Jerusalem Day) on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.
Israel considers Iran an existential threat because of its nuclear and missile programmes, support for radical anti-Israel groups on its borders and repeated references to Israel's destruction. Ahmadinejad has frequently made such calls, as has Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran has denied it is seeking to build nuclear weapons, saying its programme is peaceful and aimed at producing electricity and radioisotopes to treat cancer patients.
Israel has been engaged in an increasingly public debate about whether to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. Its official position is to press for diplomatic and economic measures to persuade Iran to halt its uranium-enrichment initiative. "But all options are on the table," Israeli leaders have said, a reference to a possible military strike if other measures fail.
Iran has warned it would retaliate to any such attack and threatened to strike US interests in the region.
In his speech on Friday, Ahmadinejad said Israel was "a corrupt, anti-human organised minority group standing up to all divine values". "Today, confronting the existence of the fabricated Zionist regime is in fact protecting the rights and dignity of all human beings," he added.
Iran and Israel have been enemies for decades. Tensions between the countries have intensified since 2005, when Ahmadinejad announced that Israel would one day be "wiped off the map".
Asian Defence News