NEW YORK — Several myths regarding Iran stand in the way of the United States and other nations reaching a peaceful relationship with that country. Much of the concern that Iran may attack Israel, if Iran successfully develops nuclear weapons, rests on the statement by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that “Israel must be wiped off the map.”

However, Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor of modern Middle East and South Asian history, says no such idiom exists in the Persian language: “Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to ‘wipe Israel off the map’ . . . Instead, he said he ‘hoped the regime, a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse.’ “

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