Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday that Iran "is ready to annihilate Israel if it attacks one of the Islamic countries."
He was quoted by Egypt's official news agency as saying that "the Iranian people are ready to ride on to Israel to destroy it. The Zionists hope to attack Iran but they're afraid of the consequences. Our forces can deter any aggressor and make them pay."
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The Iranian president, who is currently visiting Cairo, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the sidelines of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit.
In an interview with Iran's Al Alam TV Abbas thanked Ahmadinejad for his country's support of the Palestinian bid for UN membership. The two last met six months ago in Tehran on the sidelines of the Non Aligned Movement conference.
Abbas and Ahmadinejad (Photo: Getty Images)
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said at the summit's opening session that one of the biggest challenges facing Muslim nations is the Palestinian issue which he said was the cornerstone for establishing stability and security in the region.
He added that Egypt is committed to the Palestinian people's struggle to achieve independence. "Egypt has helped its brothers in the Gaza Strip and stopped the brutal aggression."
The Egyptian president congratulated the Palestinians for their UN status upgrade and called on the international community to "put an end to the illegal settlements immediately." He noted there would be no peace as long as the Palestinians are deprived of their rights.
Morsi called for joint action to stop "the seizure of Palestinian territories" and noted that settlements "stab the peace process in the heart." He added that the summit will discuss the issue of the settlements in a special meeting later on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, Egypt's Al Ahram newspaper reported that Ahmadinejad offered to share Iran's nuclear expertise with Egypt.
He also reiterated that Iran is not developing offensive nuclear weapons and said that Tehran "did not threaten to strike the Zionist entity. The world must treat Iran as a nuclear force which would use it military capabilities for defense purposes."
When he tried to thank his hosts Abbas mixed up the names of Egypt's democratically elected president and his ousted authoritarian predecessor.
Abbas intended to thank Egypt for supporting the Palestinian cause. He began by saying "President Mohammed Hosni" then stopped short and corrected himself to say "Mohammed Morsi." Morsi remained mostly stone faced during the gaffe except for a slight movement of the mouth that hinted at disapproval.
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