Iran's president is standing by his call for the destruction of Israel, joining thousands of anti-Israeli demonstrators in a "Jerusalem Day" rally on the streets of Tehran Friday.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed widespread international condemnation of his call this week at an anti-Zionist conference for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
He told the official Iranian news agency the international community is free to speak, but its words carry no weight. He said Israel oppresses the Palestinians, but expects no one to object.
He added that his views are the same as the Iranian people's. In contrast, the Iranian embassy in Moscow sought to soften Mr. Ahmadinejad's words, saying in a statement that he "did not have any intention to speak up in such sharp terms and enter into a conflict."
Israel has called for Iran's expulsion from the United Nations, and many countries have categorically condemned the Iranian leader's remarks.
The Arab and Muslim worlds have been mostly silent, but Palestinian and Turkish officials have offered their disapproval.
Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.