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Countdown has begun, Ahmadinejad
Photo: Reuters
Iranian FM Mottaki
Photo: AP
Khaled Mashaal
Photo: AP
Countdown to Israel's destruction has begun, says Ahmadinejad
Iranian president says Israel's disappearance imminent, 'Zionist regime' will have to bow down to Palestinians. Iranian FM meets with Hamas, Jihad, leader in Damascus, urging them to continue struggle against Jewish state

The countdown to Israel's destruction has begun, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech commemorating the death of Iranian revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on Sunday.

 

"The arrogant superpowers and the Zionist regime invested all their efforts during the 33-day war, but after 60 years, their pride has been trampled and the countdown to the destruction of this regime has been started by Hizbullah fighters," the president was quoted as saying by Iranian news agency Mehr.

 

Ahmadinejad added that "with the help of all the Lebanese and Palestinian fighters, we will witness the destruction of this regime in the near future… Anyone who works for God and believes in the power of the people will prevail."

 

Israel is not the only nation about to collapse, according to the Iranian president. The other "corrupt" nations will also give in to the Islamic republic's strength and suffer the same fate.

 

"We are already witnessing the repercussions of the surrender. The people of Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan and all over the world are joining this river that will soon be linked to the ocean of truth and justice," he said.

 

Discussing the resistance of suppressed nations, Ahmadinejad said that according to Khomeini's teachings, "no power can stand in the way of a people's will for independence."

 

He pointed out the Palestinians as an example of a people who draw encouragement from the ways of the Iranian people. "The Palestinian people have begun their movement out of oppression and the world's nations and the Zionist regime will be forced to bow down to the Palestinians and officially acknowledge this people."

 

Not commenting on the nuclear problem directly, the president hinted that "Khomeini believed that when a nation reaches a point where it makes a decision, no power can tackle it and this is the road Iran is taking."

 

Ahmadinejaed ended his speech by urging the nations of the world to believe in God, saying, "The final victory, the power of the people, and the destruction of tryants is near."

 

Tehran urges Hamas, Jihad to fight Israel 

On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki urged Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to carry on with their armed struggle against Israel during meetings with leaders of the Palestinian groups in Damascus Saturday.

 

According to the London-based al-Hayat daily, Mottaki met with Hamas' politburo head Khaled Mashaal and a delegation of Islamic Jihad leaders in the framework an official visit to Syria.

 

"The Palestinian people are a mighty people and there is a need to continue with the resistance," al-Hayat quoted Mottaki as saying.

 

Mottaki also called on rival Palestinian factions to end internal strife which has threatened to ignite a civil war in the Gaza Strip.

 

"It is forbidden for any group to resort to violence in order to end the political deadlock," he said.

 

Hamas and Fatah have been locked in a bloody power struggle since the Islamic group rose to power last year.

 

Mashaal for his part accused Israel of seeking to force Hamas to surrender through military force and intimidation, the newspaper said.

 

"The Israelis have tried in the past to force Hamas to surrender and to fail us, and now they are trying to do the same through the arrest of legislators and ministers," he said.

 

Last week, Israel nabbed a handful of Hamas lawmakers and ministers in the West Bank in response to the group's decision a week earlier to intensify rocket fire towards towns and kibbutzim near the Gaza Strip.

 

The move came parallel to a stepped-up military offensive that left 50 Palestinians, mostly gunmen, killed in airstrikes on rocket cells and terror facilities in the coastal territory.

 

Al-Hayat also reported that Mottaki met with a top political advisor to Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah as well as a delegation of the pro-Syrian Lebanese Amal faction.

 

Roee Nahmias contributed to this report

 

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