Iran's newspapers largely reject the international criticism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's incendiary comments about Israel.
Some reiterate the anti-Israel message through front-page coverage of Friday's pro-Palestinian demonstrations across Iran.
But others are uneasy at the fresh diplomatic tension. One paper highlights former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's comments that Iran respects Jews and Judaism but opposes Israel's actions.
Yesterday, the auspicious ceremonies in the entire world of Islam once again showed that the "Palestinian ideals" are alive and proved that the movement for the liberation of noble Jerusalem is on the right path...
The last point to make is none other than what Imam Khomeini said 27 years ago: Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth. If the US administration is now furious that the president of the Islamic republic has repeated these words, it is because of the authenticity of this statement. In fact the only way to resolve the Palestinian issue is to wipe Israel off the map.
Jomhuri-ye Eslami (ultra-conservative)
Following their defeat in Gaza and Iraq, Israel and America are trying to intensify their psychological war against Iran... America and the Zionist regime have often expressed their wish to subvert the Islamic republic. But they find it intolerable when the Iranian president repeats the words of the Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini] and the Iranian nation.
Resalat (conservative), commentary by Commander of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Maj-Gen Rahim Safavi
Iran's stance on the illegitimacy of the Zionist entity is not new, since Tehran regards Palestine as occupied by an extremist Zionist group that seized these territories through terrorist means... The Zionist entity does not deserve the term "state" and it is the one that does not live peacefully with its Arab and Muslim neighbours.
Al-Vefagh (published in Arabic) editorial - "Words are punished, crimes forgotten"
Some observers point out that Ahmadinejad's controversial comments were in fact an exact quote from the late Imam [Ayatollah Khomeini]. However, the West has opportunistically used the president's remarks in line with its strategic goal of pressuring, isolating and confronting the Islamic republic. Furthermore, this pre-staged scenario provides further ammunition for Europe and the USA, which aim to report Iran's nuclear dossier to the Security Council. What's more, the West has now found a pretext to blame Iran for the violence in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Iran News (moderate)
In the diplomatic arena when our country is known as a proponent of the dialogue of civilisations, adopting a stance that creates tension can cause irreparable damage. Should our opponents use this stance or other excuses to prove their political view for exerting pressure on Iran, it will not be easy to persuade the world community that Iran's nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes. In fact, the position of our opponents to refer Iran's nuclear dossier to the UN will be strengthened.
Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said yesterday that Iran respected both Jews and Judaism. "We have no problems with Jews and highly respect Judaism as a holy religion," Rafsanjani told worshippers at the Friday Prayers, followed by anti-Israeli demonstrations throughout Iran... Rafsanjani, heading the Expediency Council, said Iran would even co-operate in establishing peace and stability in the Middle East and reiterated Tehran's plan of a referendum involving all Palestinians, including refugees, choosing their future political fate in peaceful co-existence with the Jews.
Iran News, report - "Rafsanjani: Iran Respects Jews and Judaism"
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