Tehran defiant over Israel slurInside the paper itself Simon Tisdall plays things down in another way:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's greenhorn president, sent a shiver of alarm across Europe and the Middle East with his demand that Israel be "wiped off the face of the Earth". But even if the remark was more than mere rhetoric, Mr Ahmadinejad's ability to pursue a confrontational policy is severely circumscribed.You see: probably mere rhetoric; and anyway, even if not, the guy who said it has no real power.
Real power in the Islamic republic lies not with the presidency but with the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Let me put this matter in a slightly different perspective. The president of Iran has called publicly for the destruction of Israel and in the most inflammatory language - language that recalls some earlier 'rhetoric' about the Jewish state and its inhabitants, not to speak of even earlier episodes than that. Should Iran's development of its nuclear capabilities progress further than it already has, and should Israel at some point during this development judge that it has legitimate reasons of self-defence for taking pre-emptive action, then this statement of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's on the public record, and unretracted, would have played its part in a dangerous escalation in the region. Tony Blair has a better grasp of all this than the Guardian's reporter.