05:26 GMT +311 December 2018
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    President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani

    Rouhani Calls Israel a ‘Cancerous Tumor,’ Tel Aviv Disagrees With Assessment

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    The Israeli prime minister’s speech comes after the Iranian president called on the Muslim world to unite against the Jewish state.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after the latter described Israel as a "cancerous tumor" in the Middle East.

    "Israel knows very well how to defend itself from the murderous Iranian regime," Netanyahu said on Saturday night, according to Jerusalem Post. "Rouhani's slander, which calls for the destruction of Israel, proves yet again why the nations of the world need to join in the sanctions against the Iranian terrorist regime which threatens them."

    The comment comes in response to Rouhani's speech, in which the Iranian president criticized the west for the creation of the state of Israel and also criticized Israel for being a tool in the hands of the west.

    One of the "most important effects of World War II was the formation of a cancerous tumor [Israel] in the region," Rouhani said, calling for the Muslim world, including Saudi Arabia, to unite against Israel and the United States.

    "They deployed a power in the region that completely obeys the west in regional matters," he said, adding that "they formed the fake Israeli regime and killed and displaced the historical nation of Palestine."

    During his speech, Rouhani called on Saudi Arabia, a known ally of the US, to join a united front against Israel, saying that Tehran treats Saudis as "brothers" and "won't even demand a $450 billion arms deal."

    Israel and Iran are two major players in the Middle Eastern region, and Tel Aviv considers Tehran to be an existential threat, bent on the destruction of the Israeli state.

    Another major player in the region is Saudi Arabia, which seeks to counter Iran's growing influence. The two nations have different versions of Islam, with Saudi Arabia predominantly-Sunni Muslim nation and Iran a predominantly-Shia Muslim nation.

    In his speech, Rouhani said that, should Riyadh submit to the west, Tehran will consider it a "treason against their [common] religion," and "against future generations of this region."

    Turkey, a secular state in name, is another powerhouse in the Middle East, but its interests are now focused on countering Kurdish separatism and possible migrant influx from Syria.

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