Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he'd like to pray in Jerusalem, but first Israel has to relinquish the city it calls its capital.
Pictured: Mohamed Morsi with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran in August (Photo: Sajad Safari/AFP/Getty Images)
Speaking to Al Mayadeen TV ahead of his historic trip to Egypt this week, Ahmadinejad said he would like to visit next-door Gaza, which is ruled by the terrorist group Hamas.
Asked if he would visit Gaza during this journey or before his presidential term expires in June, he said: "My wish is bigger than this. I wish to pray in Jerusalem after complete liberation."
"Gaza is one stop before Jerusalem. If I'm allowed, I will visit Gaza," he said.
According to Israel National News, the Iranian leader also told the interviewer, "The period of the Zionists is over."
"They (the Zionists) should give their place to others," he added.
Ahmadinejad's visit to Egypt is considered significant as it is the first visit of an Iranian leader to Egypt since Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979. It is also an indication of how much Egypt has changed since President Hosni Mubarak's fall from power. Both Mubarak and his predecessor President Anwar Sadat were vilified in Iran and other Muslim countries for honoring the peace treaty with Israel.
Jonathan Schanzer, a Middle East scholar with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies tweets: "Iranian leaders used to refuse to visit Mubarak's Egypt because of ties to US & Israel. Morsi doesn't have that stigma. This visit is big."
SOURCE: Sharona Schwartz