Ahmadinejad in new tirade against 'lying' Zionists

TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday launched a new verbal attack against Israel, accusing Zionists of sowing conflict, publishing offensive cartoons and "lying about being Jewish."

"Zionists are people without any religion," Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly predicted that Israel is doomed to disappear, told a news conference in Tehran.

"They are lying about being Jewish because religion means brotherhood, friendship and respecting other divine religions," he said.

He also said that "Zionists" were behind a cartoon in a Swedish newspaper depicting the head of the Prophet Mohammed on a dog's body that sparked an official protest by Tehran to Stockholm.

"They do not want the Swedish government to be a friend of other nations. I strongly believe they are behind it (the cartoon). They thrive on conflict and war.

"They are an organised minority who have infiltrated the world. They are not even a 10,000-strong organisation," he said.

Iran's foreign ministry on Monday summoned a Swedish diplomat to protest against the cartoon, which was published in the Oerebro local newspaper Nerikes Allehanda.

"Anywhere they are found there is war. Anywhere where there is war they are behind it," Ahmadinejad added.

Echoing his previous predictions about Israel's future, the president said: "If the world is calm, people, Europeans, Germans even, will uproot them."

Iran's government vehemently denies charges of anti-Semitism, pointing to the peaceful existence in Iran of a 20,000-strong Jewish community, the largest in the Middle East outside Israel.

08/28/2007 16:10 GMT

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