Iran insists that Israel must "be wiped off map"

Iran insisted Thursday that Israel was an "illegitimate" regime that must be wiped off the map, and said international condemnation to comments by Iran's president aimed at "covering up" what it called Israeli crimes against Palestinians. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said massive demonstrations Friday would illustrate the anger of the Islamic world over the existence of the Jewish state.

Ultraconservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad angered the world community Wednesday after he declared that Israel is a "disgraceful blot" that should be "wiped off the map."

"The comments expressed by the president is the declared and specific policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Mottaki said on state-run television late Thursday.

"We don't recognize the Zionist regime and don't consider it legitimate," he said.

Mottaki said Iranians will show their anger Friday during massive demonstrations that will be staged in Tehran and other parts of the country to mark annual al-Quds Day, when Iranians protest Israel's control over Jerusalem, the AP reports.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians are expected to back Ahmadinejad's comments in protest rallies in Tehran and across the country.

"The world will see the anger of the Islamic world against this regime," state-run television quoted him as telling ambassadors from Islamic countries.

He added that the "Zionist regime is illegitimate. The international community is concerned about the existence of nuclear warheads held by this regime."

Mottaki's comments came as international condemnation grew over Ahmadinejad comments to students Wednesday that Israel should be destroyed.