Rouhani calls Israel occupation a 'wound'

Friday 02 August 2013 22.04
Incoming Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has urged Iranians to support the rights of Palestinians
Incoming Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has urged Iranians to support the rights of Palestinians

Iran's president-elect Hassan Rouhani has said Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands was a "wound" on the Muslim world.

The remarks shown on state television differed sharply from an earlier local news agency report on his comments.

The student news agency ISNA had quoted Mr Rouhani as saying: "The Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed."

However, Mr Rouhani was seen in video footage broadcast by Press TV as saying: "In our region there's been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved al-Qods (Jerusalem)."

He was speaking to journalists during an annual Qods Day rally in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to call for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

ISNA's version of his remarks echoed the fiercely anti-Israeli language of outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

However, it was swiftly rejected by Iranian state media, which said news agencies had distorted what Mr Rouhani had said.

The US and its allies suspect Iran of seeking a nuclear weapons capability.

Iran said its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes, but Israel regards it as a threat to its existence and refuses to rule out military action.