* White House calls his comments “disgusting, offensive”
* Ahmadinejad: Iran ”ready to defend” against Israeli attack
* Iran’s president in New York for UN General Assembly
* He wants US dialogue based on fairness, mutual respect
* Ahmadinejad to address General Assembly on Wednesday
By Louis Charbonneau
NEW YORK, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday Israel has no roots in the Middle East and would be “eliminated,” ignoring a U.N. warning to avoid incendiary rhetoric ahead of the annual General Assembly session.
Ahmadinejad also said he did not take seriously the threat that Israel could launch a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, denied sending arms to Syria, and alluded to Iran’s threats to the life of British author Salman Rushdie.
The United States quickly dismissed the Iranian president’s comments as “disgusting, offensive and outrageous.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted Israel could strike Iran’s nuclear sites and criticized U.S. President Barack Obama’s position that sanctions and diplomacy should be given more time to stop Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Iran denies it is seeking nuclear arms and says its atomic work is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.
CONTINUED at Reuters.