"Iran constitutes a danger not just to Israel, but also to Arab states... and to countries in Europe," Katsav said.

"Why does Iran need to repeat and issue statements threatening the existence of the state of Israel?" he asked.

"There are no conflicting interests, there are no common borders.

"We have the impression that Iran is trying to gain the support of the Islamic world by threatening the state of Israel, the state of the Jews." 

Terror claim

His comments come as a senior Iranian military official warned on Tuesday that the Islamic republic would target Israel if it came under US attack over its nuclear programme.

"Iran today can gain the support of the international community"

Moshe Katsav, Israeli president

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, has called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

Katsav accused Iran of allying itself with "all international terror organisations" and pursuing nuclear weapons, even though it has not faced a "serious enemy" since the fall of Saddam Hussein following the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq.

The president skirted questions about Israel's widely presumed possession of nuclear warheads, which it has never officially confirmed, and its readiness to open up its nuclear installations to international inspection.

He called on Iran to "co-operate with the United Nations and the international community" over its nuclear programme.

"The world is not against Iran. I was born in Iran and I have much affection for Iranian culture and history," he said.

"My family lived in Iran for 2,500 years. Iran today can gain the support of the international community," he added.

Tehran has been under international pressure to suspend its nuclear activities, which it insists are for civilian energy purposes but which some Western countries fear are aimed at manufacturing an atomic bomb.

US and European officials are pushing for a tough, binding UN resolution for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, which makes fuel for civilian reactors but can also be used as the explosive core of bombs.