Iran's President Has No Problem With Israelis...
...but Ahmadinejad adds that Israel is illegitimate
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2008 7:30 AM CDT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks with media during his press conference in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday that he harbors no hostility to Israelis themselves even as he refuses to recognize Israel as a legitimate state, the New York Times reports. "We have no problem with people and nations,” said the Iranian president, whose comments caused at least some analysts to see a policy shift in the works. “Of course, we do not recognize a government or a nation for the Zionist regime."

The unusual pronouncement came as Ahmadinejad defended one of his vice presidents, who caused a furor when he said, more than once, that Iran was a friend of the Israeli people. Ahmadinejad, however, went on to call the Holocaust a "fake" and added that Israelis had been tricked into moving there. He travels to New York next week to address the UN.