WASHINGTON - Iran
does not take Israeli threats of attack seriously, but is prepared to defend itself, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
said on Monday.
The leader of the islamic republic made his comments as reports in the country's English-language Press TVsuggested that Iran successfully test-fired a domestically made anti-aircraft system.
"The mid-range system ... is capable of intercepting targets at a range of 50 kilometres (30 miles) and can fly at an altitude of 75,000 feet," the report on Press TV's website said.
Speaking to journlists on Monday Ahmadinejad said: "Fundamentally we do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists ... we have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves," Ahmadinejad told reporters in New York, where he is due to attend the UN General Assembly.
"While we are fully ready to defend ourselves, we do not take such threats seriously," he said.
Later Monday Ahmadinejad spoke at a UN Assembly high level meeting on the rule of law, an event held in the presence of world leaders and foreign ministers.
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor left the assembly in protest and said: "The leader of a lawless country that repeatedly violates the basic principles of rule of law has no place in this hall."
'It is an absolute disgrace that this kind of man is given a voice on such an important issue. Allowing Ahmadinejad to speak at the UN about rule of law is like appointing a pyromaniac to the post of fire services commander."
The Iranian leader also said that Israel
has "no roots" in the history of the Middle East
and represents a disturbance for Iran.
Ahmadinejad said Iran has been around for thousands of years, but Israel has existed for only 60 or 70 years. He said that for a certain "historical phase" Israel represents a disturbance for Iran and "they are then eliminated."
"They (Israel) have no roots there in history. They do not even enter the equation for Iran."
On Sunday, Ahmadinejad discussed the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran in an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes", Asked what Iran's response would be if Israel strikes its nuclear facilities, he said, "Any nation has the right, and will indeed, defend itself."
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was quoted as saying on Sunday that Iran could launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel if it was sure the Jewish state was preparing to attack it.
Reuters contributed to the report