Israel has "no roots" in the history of the Middle East and represents a disturbance for Iran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday.
Ahmadinejad said Iran has been around for thousands of years, but Israel has existed for only 60 or 70 years. He said that for a certain "historical phase" Israel represents a disturbance for Iran and "they are then eliminated."
"They (Israel) have no roots there in history," Ahmadinejad told reporters in New York, where he is due to attend the UN General Assembly. "They do not even enter the equation for Iran."
Earlier in the day, Ahmadinejad told the Washington Post that Iran did not take seriously Israeli threats of an attack on its nuclear facilities, adding that he believed that the Americans are "peace-loving people."
“We, generally speaking, do not take very seriously the issue of the Zionists and the possible dangers emanating from them,” he told columnist David Ignatius early in the interview. “Of course, they would love to find a way for their own salvation by making a lot of noise and to raise stakes in order to save themselves. But I do not believe they will succeed. Iran is also a very well-recognized country and her defensive powers are very clear.”
Also on Monday, while speaking to CNN, the Iranian president referred to the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, saying "Any nation has the right and will indeed defend herself."
"But my question is this: Why should the world be managed in such a way that an individual can allow himself to threaten a rich and deeply rooted historical, ancient country such as Iran? A great country, such as Iran, based on an excuse of his own fabrication," he said, adding: "Another country can say, I am guessing that country B is doing activity X, therefore I will attack that country ... can this be ... a successful formula for the management of the world?"
Regarding other issues, Ahmadinejad was asked during the CNN interview how he would feel if one of his children married a Jewish person, saying: "I would have to see who that Jewish man or woman would be."
"I see love amongst people as completely acceptable. There are many Jews living in Iran with whom we are very close. There are ... some Muslims that marry into Jewish families or marry Christians," he said, adding: "I - we have no such problems."