Hundreds in Los Angeles protest against Iranian president's statement

As many as 1,800 demonstrators rallied outside a federal building to protest a statement by Iran's president that Israel should be "wiped off the map," police said. There were no reports of arrests at the rally Sunday outside the federal building in Los Angeles' Westwood section, according to police Lt. Roger Deranian.

The protest was organized by, which describes itself as "a pro-Israel advocacy organization." A message left with the group's director was not immediately returned.

Deranian estimated the size of the crowd at between 1,700 and 1,800 people. Protesters waved Israeli and American flags and held signs that read "Free Iran."

In October, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel's destruction while speaking to an international congress to express solidarity with the people of Palestine. He called Israel a "disgraceful blot" that should be "wiped off the map of the world." He has since defended the remarks, which drew international criticism and prompted U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to cancel a trip to Iran, reports the AP. I.L.

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