(JTA) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel has "no roots" in the history of the Middle East.
Ahmadinejad made his comments on Sunday to reporters at the United Nations before speaking at a U.N. General Assembly high-level meeting on the rule of law.
"Iran has been around for the last seven, 10 thousand years. They have been occupying those territories for the last 60 to 70 years, with the support and force of the Westerners. They have no roots there in history," the Iranian leader said of Israel.
Ahmadinejad made his comments a day after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned him to tone down his rhetoric, according to reports.
Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, walked out of the meeting along with the rest of the Israeli delegation.
"The leader of a lawless country that repeatedly violates the basic principles of rule of law has no place in this hall," Prosor said.
Ahmadinejad also told reporters Monday that Iranian leaders "do not take seriously the threats of the Zionists."
"We have all the defensive means at our disposal and we are ready to defend ourselves," he said.