Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president of Iran and an ally of current President Hassan Rouhani, called for the destruction of Israel and described the country as “alien” and “temporary,” according to a report  Monday in Iran’s official IRNA news agency. Rafsanjani, who heads the powerful Expediency Council, which advises Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made the comments in an interview with a Hezbollah-affiliated news outlet.
In response to a question why the Zionist regime has done its best to prevent the path for reaching a nuclear agreement between Iran and the West, Ayatollah Rafsanjani said that even Tel Aviv knows well that Iran is not after acquiring nuclear weapons.
‘By doing so the Zionist wish to keep Iran engaged in problems permanently, knowing that the Islamic Republic’s political, economic, cultural and propagation status will all improve after such an agreement,’ he said.
Asked about the future of the Palestinian nation, Rafsanjani said that he still believes that eventually one day the forged and temporary Israeli entity, which is an alien existence forged into the body of a nation and a region be wiped off the map.
Rafsanjani, who along with Rouhani is often characterized as a moderate, appears to associate Israel’s destruction with the completion of the nuclear deal.
Iran’s top leaders have a long record of threatening Israel’s existence. Khamenei last year tweeted  out “9 key questions about the elimination of Israel.”
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs published a study  (.pdf) in 2012 cataloging the various calls Iran’s leaders have issued for Israel’s destruction.
[Photo: Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών / Flickr  ]