Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP, Syrian TV
Damage in Syria after strike
Photo: AFP, Syrian TV
Ahmadinejad: Israeli strike driven by weakness
Shortly before embarking on Egypt visit, Iranian president expresses wish to visit Gaza, says he hopes to 'pray in Jerusalem after it is liberated'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is headed to Egypt but is hoping to someday also reach Gaza and Jerusalem. "I hope to pray in Jerusalem after it is liberated," he said Monday.


"Gaza is one stop before Jerusalem. If I'm allowed, I will visit Gaza," the Iranian president told the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen TV.


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Addressing reports of an Israeli airstrike in Syria, he said that "the Zionists attacked because of their weakness."


Ahmadinejad will visit Cairo this week, marking the first visit to Egypt by an Iranian leader in decades.

Mohammed Kamel Amr described Ahmadinejad's visit as routine, since he will be attending a summit of the Organization of Islamic Conference in Cairo.


"Morsi's visit to Tehran was a step forward, and so will be my visit to Cairo," Ahmadinejad said. He said that the Iranian and Egyptian people need each other and closer ties between the two nations are in the best interest of the entire region.


The Iranian president claimed that Iranian-Egyptian cooperation could counterweight Israel. "Egypt and Iran can tip the scales in favor of the Palestinian people. If we agree about the liberation of Palestine, it will surely happen."


In an interview with Al Mayadeen TV in honor of the Islamic revolution's 34th anniversary, Ahmadinejad promised that Iran will "always stand by the Palestinians.


"If tomorrow the Palestinians ask us to organize a demonstration in Tehran, we will do it."


He said that Syria's crisis could not be solved by military means and called for a national accord leading to elections.


"War is not the solution...A government that rules through war - its work will be very difficult. A sectarian war should not be launched in Syria," he added.


"We believe that (deciding) whoever stays or goes is the right of the Syrian people. How can we interfere in that? We must strive to achieve national understanding, and free elections."


Reuters contributed to this report



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