Iran's president calls Israel an "evil regime"

Iran's president on Thursday said Israel was a regime based on evil, but also said he was ready to negotiate with the United States and other countries over his country's nuclear program.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has previously said Israel should be wiped off the map, told a cheering crowd of students that the Middle East country is "a regime based on evil that cannot continue and one day will vanish."

Students in the crowd held up posters saying "Iran in our Hearts," and "Nuclear for Peace."

Ahmadinejad, known for his fiery rhetoric, was visiting Indonesia amid a deepening standoff over his country's nuclear program and suspicions it is developing nuclear weapons.

Key U.N. Security Council members agreed to present Tehran with a choice of incentives or sanctions in deciding whether to suspend uranium enrichment.

The Iranian leader told Indonesia's Metro TV station that he was unconcerned about the possibility of U.N. sanctions, saying the West had more to lose than Iran did if the country was isolated.

"We do not need to be dependent on others," he said, adding international isolation would serve only to "motivate" the country's nuclear scientists.

Asked what it would take to begin talks with the United States to resolve the standoff, he said the country would talk to anyone except Israel, which Iran does not recognize, reports the AP.


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