Ahmadinejad: Israel has 'no roots' in the Middle East


Ahmadinejad told reporters in New York Monday that Israel had "no roots" in the Middle East and that he wasn't afraid of an attack.


Allison Joyce

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that Iran was not afraid of an Israeli attack on its nuclear sites and added that Israel had "no roots" in the Middle East.

"They have no roots there in history," Ahmadinejad said of Israel to reporters at the United Nations, reported the Jerusalem Post.

"They do not even enter the equation for Iran."

The statement from the Iranian President comes just a day after he was warned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to temper his comments during a time of regional turmoil.

UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters that the Secretary-General said that Ahmadinejad's rhetoric may lead to harmful consequences and have "grave regional implications," particularly in regards to the deteriorating situation in Syria.

As GlobalPost has noted previously, this is Ahmadinejad's last visit to the UN General Assembly as president of Iran.

More from GlobalPost: Ahmadinejad travels to United Nations for last address as President of Iran

The visit comes during a tense time in the region, with Iran's embattled ally Syria struggling for survival, and increasing talk of a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities by Israel.

Israel's Prime Minister has stepped up his rhetoric on Iran in recent weeks and put pressure on the Obama administration to do more to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, said Fox News.

The United States has argued that diplomacy and sanctions still have a chance to stop Iran from developing a bomb.

Ahmadinejad remained indignant about threats emanating from Israel over its nuclear industy.

"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, according to The New York Times.

"While we are fully ready to defend ourselves, we do not take such threats seriously."

Iran has denied that it is seeking nuclear weapons despite mounting evidence to suggest that it is.

GlobalPost wrote today that Britain, France and Germany may seek tougher sanctions on Iran next month.

More from GlobalPost: European countries call for new sanctions on Iran

The European Union has already imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Iran, including an oil embargo, which has heavily impacted its economy.

Bizarrely, the New York Post has also tried to punish Iran for its rhetoric against Israel and pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The tabloid reported that it had recently sent the leader a gift basket to his New York hotel featuring classic Jewish fare including Gold’s Borscht, Murray’s Sturgeon Shop whitefish, Manischewitz gefilte fish, and even a ticket to the Off Broadway show “Old Jews Telling Jokes."