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U.S. denounces "hateful remarks" against Israel by Iranian officials

(Xinhua)

10:21, August 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Monday denounced what it called "hateful remarks" made by senior Iranian officials against Israel over the past few days, vowing continuing pressure on the Islamic republic over its controversial nuclear program.

"We strongly condemn the hateful remarks made over the past few days and weeks by senior Iranian officials against Israel," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a regular news briefing.

"These remarks are offensive and reprehensible, and the entire international community should condemn such rhetoric," she added.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly described Israel as a "cancerous tumor" on Quds Day Friday, an occasion to express solidarity with the Palestinian people and oppose Zionism as well as Israel's control of Jerusalem.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday also reportedly branded the United States and Israel the "enemies" of the Muslim nations, calling Israel the "cancerous tumor in the heart of the Islamic world."

"These threats are not new, and they demonstrate that Iran continues to be a threat to the region and the world, and we must continue to pressure Iran until it resolves international concerns about its nuclear program and other issues," Nuland said.

The Western countries suspect Iran is using its nuclear program as a cover for pursuing nuclear weapons, while the Islamic republic insists on the peaceful nature of its nuclear activities.

Senior Israeli leaders have threatened preemptive strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities.

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