- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Right around the time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was heading to Russia for an 11th hour attempt to influence a global deal with Tehran over nuclear development, Iran’s top religious leader was emphasizing the fated fall of the Jewish nation.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran wanted to have a friendly working relationship with Israel — but that Israel was “doomed to extinction,” Ynet News reported.

“The Zionist regime is a regime whose pillars are extremely shaky,” he said, addressing commanders of the Basij militia force in Tehran, the media outlet reported. “Any phenomenon that is created by force cannot endure. The enemies of Iran sometimes — and particularly the rabid dog of the region, the Zionist regime — malevolently claim that Iran is a threat to the entire world.”

Mr. Netanyahu is scheduled on Wednesday to meet with Russia President Vladimir Putin to address Israel’s growing concerns about an emerging nuclear deal among Tehran leaders, U.N. officials and international leaders at a Geneva conference.

Mr. Khamenei also said, in remarks that were broadcast on state-run television: “I insist on stabilizing the rights of the Iranian nation, including the nuclear rights. I insist on not retreating one step from the rights of the Iranian nation. We want to have friendly relations with all nations, even the United States. We are not hostile to the American nation. They are like other nations in the world.”

In the next breath, however, the ayatollah spoke harshly of France’s stand with the United States in opposition of much of the nuclear deal being forged in Geneva, vowing that Iran would “slap aggressors in the face in such a way they will never forget it,” Ynet News reported.

The militia members, in response, chanted “Death to America.”

Among the key players at Wednesday’s conference in Geneva: The United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

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