Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday that Israel is a cancerous tumor that is being paid by the West to "continue the criminal occupation of Palestinian territories. " Meanwhile, head of Iran's parliamentary foreign policy commission said Sunday that the West will suffer if it fails to accept the reality of Iran's nuclear abilities.
Ahmadinejad made the statements during a meeting with participants of the Global March to Jerusalem which is scheduled to take place at the end of the month on the occasion of Land Day. "The Zionist regime is like a malignant cancerous cell, and even one or two cells are enough to infect the whole body," Ahmadinejad said.
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Activists from Indonesia, India and Pakistan visited Iran and are slated to go on to Turkey and from there to Lebanon and then Israel where a rally will be held on March 30. Participants will also include activists from Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinian Authority. The march is being organized by non-governmental organizations and is being backed by Iran and Hamas.
Ahmadinejad visits reactor in Tehran (Photo: Reuters)
Ahmadinejad said it was no longer legitimate for Israel to occupy any part of Palestine. "The Palestinians should be running the field and God willing that will happen soon."
He added, "Some may think that not much can be done against the Zionist regime with 500 marchers but great things in history began with determined people. No matter how strong the enemies are they will be destroyed and we must prepare for the great day that arrogance will be wiped from the face of the earth."
"Each year Europe and the US pay the Zionists billions of dollars to continue the criminal occupation of Palestinian territories. They forget all the human rights, democracy and justice slogans when it comes to Palestine."
Warning to the West
Iran will make absolutely no concessions on its nuclear program, a key lawmaker declared on Sunday amid high geopolitical tensions and ahead of mooted talks with world powers.
"The parliament will never allow the government to go back even one step in its nuclear policy," Aladin Borujerdi, the head of Iran's parliamentary foreign policy commission, told the official IRNA news agency.
Iran's recent announcements that it is stepping up uranium enrichment and made its own 20-per cent enriched nuclear fuel showed the country "totally masters nuclear science," he said. "If the P5+1 countries don't accept the reality of Iran's nuclear abilities, they will suffer from that," Borujerdi was quoted as saying.
His comments precede expected talks agreed to by Iran and the P5+1 group of powers - the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany. Iran has formally requested a date and venue for the negotiations, the previous round of which collapsed in Istanbul in January last year.
Borujerdi told IRNA that the United States and its allies have seen in recent months that Iran's scientists have managed to make nuclear fuel enriched to 20 percent, among other achievements.
"Lawmakers expect the (Iranian) nuclear negotiating team to change the situation, to obtain a cancellation of (UN) resolutions (on Iran) and that the Iranian nuclear issue is taken from the Security Council and put back before the governors' board of the International Atomic Energy Agency," he said.
The remarks suggested Iran was taking a defiant negotiating position for the talks with the P5+1 - one as hardball as the stance adopted by the United States and some of its allies, notably France and Britain.
The Western sanctions are taking a toll on Iran's vital oil exports, though to what extent is unclear amid competing declarations from Tehran and from Western agencies.
While shipments have certainly been curtailed to several markets, the tensions over the showdown have driven global oil prices higher, giving the Islamic state higher revenue per barrel of oil it manages to sell.
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