Former Iranian President and current confidant to Iran’s President Rouhani, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, this week announced on Iranian state-run television that “the forged and temporary Israeli entity” would be destroyed.
Mr Rafsanjani, who is in charge of the influential Expediency Council that gives advice to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, also said that Israel is an “alien” and “temporary” country.
He stated that the destruction of Israel “depends on conditions which are rapidly changing. Those conditions can be provided very soon if the usefulness period of Israel will expire”.
Rafsanjani additionally said that Israel was attempting to prevent the nuclear deal between Tehran and the P5+1 in order to bankrupt Iran: “By doing so the Zionists wish to keep Iran enraged in problems permanently, knowing that the Islamic Republic’s political, economic, cultural and propagation status will all improve after such an agreement”.
Another top Iranian official, Hossein Dehghan, Iran’s Defence Minister, stated on Monday that “the bloodthirsty Zionist regime” of Israel was “the axis of evil, espionage and warmongering in the world”.
Last year, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted out a nine-point plan of “key questions about the elimination of Israel”.
The former President’s comments came as the news emerged that nuclear talks in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 have been extended again by three extra days. The extension follows seven days of prolonged talks after the failure to meet the original target of reaching an agreement by June 30th.
There have been continued disagreements on core elements of the emerging agreement, including Iran’s use of advanced centrifuges, the pace of which sanctions will be lifted, and the access that international inspectors will have to Iran’s nuclear facilities, especially military sites.