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Iran leader urges destruction of 'cancerous' Israel

TEHRAN, Iran (Reuters) -- Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Friday for the destruction of Israel, describing it as a "cancerous tumor" in the Middle East.

"Iran's stance has always been clear on this ugly phenomenon (Israel). We have repeatedly said that this cancerous tumor of a state should be removed from the region," Khamenei told thousands of Muslim worshippers in Tehran.

"The Palestinian issue is not an internal Israeli matter. It involves the interests of the whole Islamic world, including Iran. All should strive to return that piece of land to Islamic hands."

Khamenei offered an alternative solution which he said might be more "internationally acceptable":

"Palestinian refugees should return and Muslims, Christians and Jews could choose a government for themselves, excluding immigrant Jews.

"No one will allow a bunch of thugs, lechers and outcasts from London, America and Moscow to rule over the Palestinians," the ayatollah said in remarks broadcast on state radio.

He praised the 11-week Palestinian uprising against Israel, in which more than 320 people have been killed, mainly Palestinians.

"The new Palestinian generation has learned that struggle is the way to victory, not negotiations," Khamenei said, referring to the deadlocked U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace process.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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