DHAKA: Don’t worry about Iran, Israel will take care of it, former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as telling him years ago.
Aznar, speaking Wednesday at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs on a meeting he had with the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in 2002, said Putin’s comments came after he entreated him not to sell S300 anti-aircraft missiles to Iran.
‘We can sell them anything’, Aznar quoted Putin as saying, because in the end ‘Israel will take care of it’, reports The Jerusalem Post.
Aznar, one of the few western leaders to have met Khamenei, said the Iranian made it clear when they met in October 2000, that ‘Israel was a historic cancer and anomaly condemned to disappear’.
Aznar said he found in Khamenei a man not only inspired by faith, but also ‘more nationalistic than I imagined’.
Aznar said the Iranian leader wanted Iran to flourish in all fields, especially science and technology, in order to attain self sufficiency and independence.
It was this desire for self-sufficiency, he said, which has led the Iranians to strive to develop nuclear weapons, rather than buy one from North Korea or Pakistan.
Aznar said that during their conversation Khamenei said that ‘an open confrontation with Israel and the US was inevitable’, and that ‘he was working for Iran to prevail in such a confrontation’.
Aznar said that Khamenei made clear during their conversation that ‘it was necessary to eliminate the threat Israel posed’.
The former Spanish prime minister said this obviously meant Khamenei believed Israel must be ‘removed’.
BDST: 1734 HRS, May 16, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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