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Thursday, October 19th 2006

Ahmadinejad Denounces Israel

In Other News The Sky Is Still Blue

The Iranian president used a rambling speech to both denounce Israel’s right to exist and anounce, as if we hadn’t heard him before, that he will press forward with his nuclear program. Always good things to hear in the same speech.

“The world must know the Iranians will not back down even an inch on their rights to peaceful nuclear energy,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Islamshahr, southwest of the capital.

“Uranium enrichment and having nuclear fuel are among the main demands of Iran,” he added in the address broadcast live on state television.

“Our nation has previously announced this [Israeli] regime is illegitimate from its foundation. It is fabricated. It has been imposed on the nations of the region and it cannot survive.

“The existence of this regime [Israel] is the root of many problems of mankind today,” the president said, adding that Israel had been “founded by the major powers in the heart of the Islamic world.”

Olmert’s response came from Russia.

“The Iranians have to be afraid … They have to be afraid that something will happen to them that they don’t want to happen,” Olmert said Wednesday after meeting with Putin.

Olmert is in Russia with an Israeli delegation in an effort to stir up support for sanctions on Iran. An effort that might be a bit overshadowed by Putin’s strange comments.

Mr. Putin was heard saying, “Say hello to your president,” to Mr. Olmert, referring to President Moshe Katsav, who could face criminal charges that he raped and assaulted two former employees. Mr. Putin added, “He really surprised us.” The microphone was quickly turned off as reporters were ushered from the room, but the news organizations reported that Mr. Putin went on.

“We did not know he could deal with 10 women,” he said, according to the Post and Agence France-Presse accounts, apparently referring to the complaints by several women that Mr. Katsav harassed them or worse.

Kommersant’s version — citing the remarks in Russian — was cruder. “He turned out to be quite a powerful man,” the paper’s reporter in the official Kremlin pool, Andrei Kolesnikov, quoted Mr. Putin as saying. “He raped 10 women. I never expected it from him. He surprised all of us. We all envy him.”

The Israeli President (whose office is one of ceremony) has been accused of rape.

Putin’s remarks may have confused the Israeli diplomats (also here).

A Man To Envy…Apparently…