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July 7, 2015 1:07 pm

As Iran Nuclear Talks Extended, Iranian Leader Repeats Threat to Destroy Israel

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Former Iranian President and influential cleric Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reiterated the Islamic Republic's desire for Israel to be "wiped off the map." Photo:

Former Iranian President and influential cleric Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani reiterated the Islamic Republic’s desire for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” Photo: – A day before U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf confirmed on Tuesday that the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations will be extended at least until Friday, July 10, an Iranian leader reiterated the Islamic Republic’s desire for Israel to be “wiped off the map.”

“The presence of the Israeli regime is temporary,” Iranian Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani told the Hezbollah-linked Al Ahd news website. “Eventually one day this alien forged existence that has been forced into the body of an ancient nation and an historical region will be wiped off the map.”

Regarding the nuclear negotiations, Rafsanjani said that “even Tel Aviv knows well that Iran is not after acquiring nuclear weapons,” according the Iranian state news service IRNA. But he warned that the “Zionist” opposition to a nuclear deal serves “to keep Iran engaged in problems permanently, knowing that the Islamic Republic’s political, economic, cultural and propagation status will all improve after such an agreement.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the nuclear deal negotiations due to Iranian leaders’ threatening rhetoric towards the Jewish state, among other reasons, and said Monday that he believes an agreement “will pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.”

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“This deal as far as we can see comes on almost daily concessions from the P5+1 to growing Iranian demands. Every day more concessions are made, and every day the deal becomes worse and worse,” Netanyahu said.

The State Department’s Harf said that despite the nuclear talks’ extensions beyond the June 30 and July 7 deadlines, the negotiations have made “substantial progress.” But according to reports, a dispute over United Nations sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program is holding up the deal.

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