Iran's Leader Brands Israel a 'Tumor,' Pledges to Support Enemies

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, made a statement on Friday describing Israel as a "cancerous tumor" and declaring Iran's support for anyone who opposes the Jewish nation.

Khamenei also warned the U.S. about any attacks against Iran, saying that the country will continue its nuclear program regardless of international pressure and will only grow stronger, shared.

His speech, which was aired in Iran on state TV, contained some notably hostile remarks against Israel.

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"(Israel is a) cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut," the leader, who has final say on all state matters in Iran, proclaimed.

He also confirmed his country's support for militant groups like the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas, which have been in direct conflict with Israel.

"We have intervened in anti-Israel matters, and it brought victory in the 33-day war by Hezbollah against Israel in 2006, and in the 22-day war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip," Khamenei explained.

Israel's conflict against Hamas escalated in 2008-2009 with a large-scale military incursion in Gaza, which ended in a ceasefire. A U.N.-brokered truce deal, on the other hand, ended the war with the Hezbollah after peacekeepers were sent into southern Lebanon to stop any further clashes.

"From now on, in any place, if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help. We have no fear expressing this," the leader clearly expressed.

"In conclusion, the West's hegemony and threats will be discredited in the Middle East. The hegemony of Iran will be promoted. In fact, this will be in our service," he continued in a direct warning against a possible U.S. offensive.

The comments come amid rising concerns of potential war between the U.S. and its allies against Iran's regime.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned earlier this week that Israel might launch an attack against Iran in the next few months over concerns of growing nuclear threat, The Washington Post offered.

"Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June - before Iran enters what Israelis described as a 'zone of immunity' to commence building a nuclear bomb," the article stated.

"Very soon, the Israelis fear, the Iranians will have stored enough enriched uranium in deep underground facilities to make a weapon - and only the United States could then stop them militarily," it continued.

In an effort to contain Iran's growing nuclear program, the European Union announced Monday its intent to implement an embargo on Iranian oil as well as increase trade restrictions.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Department of the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner agreed that these heightened sanctions on Iran, along with previous ones implemented by the United States, "will sharpen the choice for Iran's leaders and increase their cost of defiance of basic international obligations."

Major-General Aviv Kochavi, Israel's military intelligence chief, announced on Thursday that Iran's uranium enrichment program might produce four atomic bombs and could have one ready within a year, The Telegraph reported. He expressed hopes, however, that the stronger international sanctions might discourage Iran from its current course of action.

However, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak admitted that if sanctions don't achieve the desired goal of stopping Iran's military nuclear program, they will have to take action.

The Washington Post piece suggested only two ways to divert a potential war – either Iran will open its doors to more discussion and inspections to guarantee that its nuclear program will not be used to create weapons of mass destruction, or the U.S. could employ covert actions to degrade the program so much that Israel would not have to engage in an attack.

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