I don't know the significance of this, but Iran's hardline President said today that Israel must be "wiped off the map." The New York Times reports
Senior officials had avoided provocative language over the past decade, but Mr. Ahmadinejad appears to be taking a more confrontational tone.Hamas in the Palestinian territories and Hezbollah in Lebanon both have the same goal. Even so, it's good policy to draw them into the democratic, political process in their respective governments, just as it was good to draw the IRA, another terrorist organization, into the political process via Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland. The IRA recently made a historic step by disarming. Hopefully one day, Hamas and Hezbollah will do the same, and change into organizations (or merge with others) that recognize Israel.
France's foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, learning of Mr. Admadinejad's comments, said "I condemn them very forcefully," adding that he will summon Iran's ambassador to Paris to ask for an explanation, Agence France-Presse reported.
The Iranian mullahs' bluster may reflect their growing weakness in Iran itself. (See Timothy Garton Ash's piece in the New York Review of Books.) But this also may be a result of Iran's growing influence in Iraq. Unfortunately, Iran's likely to get nuclear weapons in the near-to-mid term, despite the West's efforts.