Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
lashed out at Israel
again Sunday, equating Jerusalem's threats of a strike against his country's nuclear facilities to a "terrorist act."
The Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions
remain unaffected, he declared: "We see the Zionist regime at the same level of the bombers and criminals and the terrorists."
"And even if they do something hypothetically, it will not affect us fundamentally," he told CNN's Fareed Zakaria on the network's "GPS" magazine.
Asked if – regardless of Iran's dismissal of Israel's statements – he considered US President Barack Obama's unequivocal statement that
Washington will "do what needs to be done" to curb Tehran's nuclear pursuits, as a "bluff," Ahmadinejad replied:
"I have never used the word bluff.
When we say we do not take it seriously, we mean that it impacts – it does not impact our policies in the slightest.
"Iran is a vast country. It's a great country. Let's assume a few terrorists come and assassinate
some of our officials. Will the country be damaged? No. A couple of bombs will be set to explode. Will the country be destroyed? No."
The Iranian president spoke further of Israel – making sure not to mention it by name: "I have always said that the Zionist regime has no historical roots
in the region. Why do I say this? Because many (Jews) were living in Iran too. Does that mean Iran
belongs to the Jews? Iran belongs to the Iranians, regardless of whether they are Jews, Muslims or Christians.
"There is a very fine line… Zionism includes many views. It is a school of thought, a school of aggressive thought. It has nothing to do with the Jewish
Ahmadinejad reiterated that the United States' policies or Iran have had no impact on internal Iranian politics and denied that the international nuclear sanctions
have crippled the Islamic Republic.
"Many European companies are trading
with us, he said," adding that the majority of transactions are clandestine.
"You may hear that there is chaos
in the Iranian economy," he said, "But there isn’t."
Turning his attention to the stalled nuclear talks, Ahmadinejad said that it is likely that the negotiations would be resumed following the US presidential elections in November.
He expressed hope that "both side" would be able to "take a few steps further."
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