CAIRO, Egypt (AP) – A high-level Iranian cleric called for the shooting of the Israeli foreign minister in a speech before worshippers.
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said during Friday prayers that he wanted someone to shoot Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and denounced President-elect Barack Obama’s search for a family pet.
“Every time the picture of this woman is shown, I really wish that somebody would expend a bullet on her,” he said according to a recording of the sermon obtained by the Associated Press.
A copy of the speech was also translated and published by the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Middle Eastern press monitoring service.
Jannati is the head of the powerful hardline Iranian Council of Guardians which ensures the government remains true to the principles of the Islamic revolution. He was hand-picked by Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for the position and is seen by the reformist camp as one of the biggest opponents of democratic reforms in Iran. His council disqualified thousands of reformist candidates during parliamentary elections. The cleric’s comments come against a backdrop of Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip to stop Hamas rocket fire. More than 1,100 Palestinians have died in the 22 days of fighting.
Jannati also criticized Obama during his sermon. “The world is on a slope of collapse. One is shocked when a president (Obama) sits, smiles and says ‘my concern is to find a dog for my daughter.’ Shame on you and those who voted for you,” he said.