TEHRAN, Iran — Ahead of his inauguration, Iran’s new president today called Israel an “old wound” that should be removed, while tens of thousands of Iranians marched in support of Muslim claims to the holy city of Jerusalem.
Hasan Rouhani’s remarks about Israel — which Iran considers to be its archenemy — echoed longstanding views of other Iranian leaders and could tarnish his image in the West as a voice of moderation in Iranian affairs.
But no Iranian leader is likely to diverge from Iran’s longstanding denunciations of Israel and the remarks are not necessary evidence that Rouhani would roll back his support for calmer relations with the West, including possible one-on-one dialogue with Washington.
“The Zionist regime has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world for years and the wound should be removed,” Rouhani was quoted as saying.
The president-elect also expressed doubts about the possibility of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal even as the two sides resumed negotiations in Washington this week, ending a five-year freeze in Mideast talks.