Image: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Vahid Salemi  /  AP
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, waves to the media after he awarded Iran's highest national medal to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad, in a ceremony in Tehran, Iran, on Saturday, Oct. 2. Syrian President Bashar Assad offered dim hopes Saturday for any success in Middle East peace talks, saying the White House is only using its mediation between Israelis and Palestinians to score political points in the United States
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updated 10/3/2010 9:43:37 AM ET 2010-10-03T13:43:37

Iran's president Sunday called for U.S. leaders to be "buried" in response to what he says are American threats of military attack against Tehran's nuclear program.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is known for brash rhetoric in addressing the West, but in a speech Sunday he went a step further using a deeply offensive insult in response to U.S. statements that the military option against Iran is still on the table.

"May the undertaker bury you, your table and your body, which has soiled the world," he said using language in Iran reserved for hated enemies.

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Several top U.S. officials including Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff have said in recent months that the military option remains on the table and there is a plan to attack Iran, although a military strike has been described as a bad idea.

The crowd of military men and clerics in the town of Hashtgerd just west of the capital chuckled at the president's insult and applauded.

The speech was broadcast by both state television and the official English-language Press TV, but the latter glossed over the insult in the simultaneous translation.

Ahmadinejad's remarks come in sharp contrast to ones he made to Al-Jazeera Arabic news channel in August in which he offered the U.S. Iran's friendship.

In Sunday's speech, Ahmadinejad also questioned once more who was behind the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. and said they gave Washington a pretext for seeking to dominate the region and plunder its oil wealth.

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During his speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, he said a majority of people in the U.S. and around the world believe the American government staged the attacks, drawing a strong rebuke from President Barack Obama.

Ahmadinejad often resorts to provocative statements to lash out enemies. He has already compared the power of Iran's enemies to a "mosquito," saying Iran deals with the West over its nuclear activities from a position of power and he has likened the United States to a "farm animal trapped in a quagmire" in Afghanistan.

Iran also condemned the latest U.S. sanctions slapped on eight Iranian officials Wednesday, saying they show American interference in Tehran's domestic affairs.

Washington this week imposed travel and financial sanctions on the eight Iranians, accusing them of taking part in human rights abuses during the turmoil following Iran's June 2009 presidential election.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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