How many times in the past sixty odd years have we heard some Arab leader or another say in reference to Israel "We will drive them into the Sea? In recent years we've seen a reduction of the more inflammatory remarks from heads of state; usually pronouncements like this are now the preserve of leaders of groups like Hamas or Islamic Jiad.
In a region where most countries are now trying to establish western ties, why than would the leadership in Iran decide to make such an overtly public declaration of hatred. I hadn't noticed any stories announcing that competition had been opened for the title of number one pariah state, but I guess since the fall of Saddam's regime the role has been going begging.
Maybe the Iranian government just could never stand being seen as second best to that secular pig-dog running Iraq, and they want to show the world how a "real" Muslim state goes about isolating itself from the civilized world. Iran hasn't been the model of a democratic societie for quite some time. Prior to their experiment with Holy Fascism they were under the benevolent thumb of the Peacock throne. Given that history it should come as no surprise that they are now bucking for the "Doesn't Play Well Others" award from the United Nations.
The past ten years have seen Iranians flirt briefly with a moderate government and a genuine swing in public opinion toward a more liberal society. But it was too early too soon and the Ayatollahs weren't ready to step down from their autocratic ways. For stolid inflexibility on social issues the only match these guys have are the current crop in the Vatican and some of the more deep fried Southern Baptists.
Not surprisingly t they managed to get their people "elected" and are now in complete control again. If anyone doubted their new found zeal the last Summer Olympics in Athens insured that no one was left wondering. When an Iranian wrestler ended up in the same draw with an Israeli he withdrew rather than risk being contaminated by close contact with a Zionist devil. Obviously the man had no choice in the matter, and it was either that or risk sever punishment when he returned home.
Iran claims to be building a state that will be home to true believers. Those who talk of them as trying to turn back the clock to the middle ages have got it wrong; it wouldn't be so bad if that were what they were genuinely trying to do. If you look at history the Islamic rulers of the Ottoman and Moorish empires that spanned the globe from Istanbul to Spain and the Balkans were actually far more tolerant of other religions than the equivalent Christian empires.