"What is Iran? Iran is nothing but some mountains and some plains, some earth and some water. A true Muslim cannot love a country--any country. For his love is reserved only for his Creator. We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world."
This, apparently, is a quote that Norman Podhoretz attributes to the Ayatollah Khomeini, for which his source is a 1989 work by Amir Taheri entitled Nest of Spies. The interest of Podhoretz pere in this quotation is, alas, obvious: he intends it as a piece of evidence for his contention that the Islamic Republic founded by Khomeini exists in a geopolitical realm beyond realpolitik and national interests, that it embodies implacable and relentless evil, such that war with it, for which he prays - on his own admission - is more or less mandatory upon
The trouble, however, is that the quote appears to be utterly bogus. Taheri claims that the quote is found in a book published under the name of Khomeini (the title of which I've not be able to track down), except that library queries here and abroad return no books by that title. Neither do book dealers in Iran know anything of it. Searches of Khomeini's speeches, utterances, and fatwas likewise reveal nothing akin to the quotation.
Podhoretz does have another quotation in this vein, attributed to former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the wealthiest, most worldly men of the regime, which suggests that such inflammatory rhetoric is for public consumption, and not a statement of geopolitical first principles. Like Andrew Sullivan, from whose blog I learned of this little datum, however, I am not convinced that accurate attributions and rigorous prudential reasoning are of paramount importance to those calling for a new theatre in their Fourth World War.