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The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday July 8, 2008
By VIJAY JOSHI
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that he sees no possibility of a war between his country and the United States or Israel.
"I assure you that there won't be any war in the future," Ahmadinejad told a news conference during a visit to Malaysia for a summit of developing Muslim nations.
Ahmadinejad's comments came less than 24 hours after Iran's Revolutionary Guards announced that its forces were carrying out a military drill involving "missile squads" and warned that the country would retaliate against any military strike by targeting Tel Aviv and U.S. warships in the Gulf.
Iranian officials have been issuing a mix of conciliatory and bellicose statements in recent weeks about the possibility of a clash with the U.S. and Israel.
Ahmadinejad also predicted Israel would collapse without Iranian action.
The Israelis "are a complex political group, but you should know this regime will be eventually destroyed and there is no need of any measure by Iranian people," he said when asked to comment on whether he has called for the destruction of Israel.
Ahmadinejad has in the past called for Israel's elimination. But his exact remarks have been disputed. Some translators say he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map," but others say that would be better translated as "vanish from the pages of time" — implying Israel would disappear on its own rather than be destroyed.
Ahmadinejad also said Tuesday that the next U.S. administration "would need at least 30 years in order to compensate, renovate and innovate the damages done by Mr. Bush."
"Today, the government of the United States is on the threshold of bankruptcy — from political to economic," Ahmadinejad said.
"The greatest threat in the Middle East and the whole world ... is the United States' intervention in other countries," Ahmadinejad said.
He urged Washington to heal its image by "relying on (the) basis of justice, humanitarian acts and respect for human beings."
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