Olmert warns Iran will have a price to pay if it doesn't back down from nuclear ambitions

TEHRAN: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that Israel no longer had any reason to exist and would soon disappear.

``This regime, thanks to God, has lost the reason for its existence,'' he said. ``Efforts to stabilise this fake [Israeli] regime, by the grace of God, have completely failed... You should believe that this regime is disappearing,'' he said.

Mr. Ahmadinejad called Israeli leaders a ``group of terrorists'' and threatened any country that supports the Jewish state, as millions of Iranians took to the streets for anti-Israel protests.

``You imposed a group of terrorists ... on the region,'' Mr. Ahmadinejad said, addressing the U.S. and its allies. ``It is in your own interest to distance yourself from these criminals... This is an ultimatum. Don't complain tomorrow.'' ``Nations will take revenge,'' he told hundreds of thousands of supporters at a pro-Palestinian rally in the capital Tehran.

He also called the U.N. Security Council ``illegitimate,'' ahead of diplomats' planned circulation of a draft resolution on Iran next week. Millions of Iranians took part in rallies held in every major city across Iran for ``Al-Quds Day,'' the Arabic name for Jerusalem. A banner in Tehran carried a quote from the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini: ``Al-Quds is part of Islam's body.''

Protests were also held in Egypt and Lebanon. Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert strongest words to date about Iranian threats. Mr. Olmert warned that Iran would have ``a price to pay'' if it doesn't back down from its nuclear ambitions. AP