Former Spain PM: Russia Believes Israel Will Prevent Iran Nuclear Weapon

Jose Maria Aznar says Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told him in 2000 that Israel must be wiped from the map.

Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin told him in the past that Russia was not worried about Iran getting a nuclear weapon because Israel would prevent such a scenario by attacking Iran's nuclear facilities.

Speaking at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Aznar talked about his familiarity with Iran's leadership. Aznar served as Spain's prime minister from 1996 to 2004.

Aznar talked about his meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a trip to Tehran in 2000. According to Aznar, Khamenei said that he expected a large conflict with the West and Israel and that the conflict would not only be military, but also cultural.

Khamenei also explicitly stated that Israel must be wiped off the map, Aznar said.
Aznar estimated that Iran's nuclear program is a direct by-product of national aspirations expressed by Khamenei during that meeting.

Jose Maria Aznar March 17, 2003 (AP)