Iranian officials, not surprisingly, defended President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comments at a conference Wednesday called “The World Without Zionism” where he called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. Their argument: It has been Iran’s policy since the 1979 revolution. Oh, well that does it I guess. World leaders, including many in the Arab world, condemned the statement. The Washington Post has a great article which discusses the context of the statement as well as outlines the early difficulties President Ahmadinejad has encountered being a foreign policy novice (hell, even Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has distanced himself recently from the new President). So much for Iranian public diplomacy in the face of mounting pressure over their nuclear program–maybe we should let Karen Hughes consult for them, she seems to be doing a bang-up job so far…

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