Iran cleric: Israeli ‘war criminals’ should be executed

Israeli leaders and military commanders deemed by Iran to be “war criminals” should be executed, a senior cleric said in a Friday prayer sermon broadcast live on state radio.

“I thank our judiciary, which has called for the arrest and punishment of these savage criminals,” said Ahmad Khatami, a member of the powerful Assembly of Experts.

“Our judiciary has the right to announce verdicts, and I say frankly that the verdict against them should be execution for being corrupt on earth and waging war against God and the Prophet [Mohammed],” he added.

On Sunday, chief prosecutor Ghorbanali Dorri-Najafbadi asked for international arrest warrants to be issued for 34 Israeli political leaders and 114 military commanders over Israel’s recent war in Gaza that killed more than 1 300 Palestinians.

He did not specify who should issue the warrants, or where the Israelis should be tried.

At the top of his list for committing “war crimes” were outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Iran does not recognise the Jewish state and it is a staunch supporter of the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls Gaza.

On Wednesday, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said “the only way to save Palestine is resistance”, and branded Israel as a “cancerous tumour”. — AFP

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