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Last Updated: Friday, 18 January 2008, 00:01 GMT
Ahmadinejad scorns US and Israel
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran's leader spoke out as Israel test-fired a ballistic missile
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused US President George W Bush of "sowing the seeds of division" during his recent Middle East visit.

Mr Ahmadinejad said Mr Bush had brought a "message of confrontation" during his tour, during which he warned Arab allies that Iran posed a threat.

In an interview with al-Jazeera TV, the Iranian leader also said Israel "would not dare" attack Iran.

He spoke as Israel announced it had test-fired a ballistic missile.

Reports in the Israeli media said the long-range missile was aimed at intercepting aerial threats against the Jewish state.

Nuclear warnings

Israel radio said the weapon could carry an unconventional payload, an apparent reference to a nuclear warhead.

The Zionist entity is not lacking new weapons in its arsenal, but I believe it will not save it from its doomed collapse
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Israel says Tehran could have a nuclear bomb by 2010 and has warned an Iranian nuclear weapon would threaten the Jewish state's existence.

Mr Bush told Gulf state leaders during his eight-day tour, which also took in Israel and the West Bank, that Iran was the world's top sponsor of terrorism.

But Mr Ahmadinejad hit back on al-Jazeera, saying: "President George Bush sent a message... of rift, a message of sowing the seeds of division. It is a message of confrontation."

The Iranian leader also dismissed US ally Israel, saying: "The Zionist regime... would not dare attack Iran.

"It knows that any attack on Iranian territories would prompt a fierce response," he added.

He went on: "The Zionist entity... is not lacking new weapons in its arsenal, but I believe it will not save it from its doomed collapse."

Israel, the US and key allies accuse Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons but Tehran says it is enriching uranium to generate electricity.



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