By Ladane Nasseri and Marc Wolfensberger
Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted the collapse of Israel, the U.S. and Britain, attacking what he called their “oppressive behavior.”
“The Zionist regime is on a steep downhill towards collapse and disgrace,” Ahmandinejad told supporters at a rally of Basiji militia forces near Tehran today. In a reference to the U.S. and U.K., he said “the collapse and crumbling of your devilish rule has started.” The speech was carried live on state television.
Iran doesn’t recognize Israel, and Ahmadinejad drew international condemnation after saying in October 2005 that Israel should be “wiped off the map.” The U.S. and Iran have had no diplomatic ties since 1980 following the seizure of diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979.
The U.K., which has an embassy in Tehran, is among the three European countries pushing for sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
The Iranian president also called on neighboring countries to drive out “foreign occupiers,” in a reference to U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The people of the region are well able to establish regional security,” the president said in the speech near the shrine of the Islamic Republic founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. “The presence of foreigners is the source of discord and conflict.”
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, whose visit to Tehran yesterday was postponed because of the curfew imposed on Baghdad since Nov. 23, will fly to the Iranian capital tomorrow, state television reported separately today.
The Iraqi president’s trip to Iran is aimed at “expanding bilateral ties in business, trade and transport affairs,” the report said. Iraq security will not be the main issue discussed in this meeting, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s press office said on Nov. 21.