TEHRAN (AFP) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad predicted on Monday that Muslims would uproot "satanic powers" and repeated his controversial belief that Israel will soon disappear, the Mehr news agency reported.
"I must announce that the Zionist regime (Israel), with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene," Ahmadinejad said.
"Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started."
The White House quickly dismissed Ahmadinejad's latest broadside against Israel and accused him of having "total disregard" for the Iranian people's hopes and needs.
Since taking the presidency in August 2005, the Iranian president has repeatedly provoked international outrage by predicting Israel is doomed to disappear.
"I tell you that with the unity and awareness of all the Islamic countries all the satanic powers will soon be destroyed," he said to a group of foreign visitors ahead of the 19th anniversary of the death of revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Ahmadinejad also again expressed his apocalyptic vision that tyranny in the world be abolished by the return to earth of the Mahdi, the 12th imam of Shiite Islam, alongside great religious figures including Jesus Christ.
"With the appearance of the promised saviour... and his companions such as Jesus Christ, tyranny will be soon be eradicated in the world."
Ahmadinejad has always been a devotee of the Mahdi, who Shiites believe disappeared more than a thousand years ago and who will return one day to usher in a new era of peace and harmony.
His emphasis on the Mahdi has been a cause of controversy inside Iran with critics saying he would be better solving bread-and-butter domestic problems rather than talking about Iran's divine responsibility.
In Washington, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino hit out at the "bombastic" Ahmadinejad.
"Unfortunately (Iranians are) being led by a leader who has total disregard for their thoughts, their feelings, their desires, their freedom, their justice, their democracy," Perino said.
"It's that kind of rhetoric that just serves to further isolate the Iranian people," she said. "We'll let him go on and be bombastic if he wants, and ignore him."
The exchanges come as UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei on Monday urged "full disclosure" from Iran over its nuclear programme.
In his opening address to the summer meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-member board of governors in Vienna, ElBaradei said it was time for Tehran to come clean over its past and present nuclear activities -- particularly allegations that it hid key information about weaponisation.
Noting that the IAEA had spent the past five years seeking to verify Iran's nuclear ambitions, ElBaradei said time was running out.
"While substantial progress has been made ... it is essential that the agency be able to reach a conclusion regarding the nature of Iran's programme at the earliest possible date," he said.
"This depends primarily on Iran demonstrating the necessary transparency and providing full disclosure. I again urge them to be fully forthcoming in this regard".
According to intelligence gathered by 10 different countries and passed on to the IAEA, Iran had been carrying out weaponisation studies until just a few years ago.
Iran has repeatedly dismissed the intelligence as fabricated.
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