(New York Times Web site, Thomas Erdbrink and Jodi Rudoren, 8/2/13): In 2005, Mr. Ahmadinejad was famously quoted as saying Israel must be “wiped off the map,” during a conference called “A world without Zionism.”
While it later became clear from tapes of his remarks that he had actually said “Israel must vanish from the pages of history,” it made his international image as a staunch anti-Semitic hard-liner.
(Updated Web story, print story, 8/3/13): Mr. Rouhani, who has sought to portray himself as a moderate, did not use the most inflammatory anti-Israeli invective sometimes heard from other Iranian leaders, most notably Mr. Rouhani’s predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called Israel a cancerous tumor, a virus and an aberration that should be expunged from history.
: The New York Times, in reporting several years earlier about Ahmadinejad's comments, consulted translators who explained that "'wipe off' or 'wipe away' is more accurate than 'vanish' because the Persian verb is active and transitive."
(New York Times Web site, Thomas Erdbrink and Jodi Rudoren, 8/2/13): But on Friday, the country’s incoming president, Hassan Rowhani, struck a more moderate tone, by merely calling the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands "a sore."
(Updated story, print story, 8/3/13): ... Mr. Rouhani told state television that “a sore has been sitting on the body of the Islamic world for many years,” a reference to Israel.