German minister slams Iranian remarks on Israel
8 December 2005, BRUSSELS - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday slammed calls by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israeli Jews to move to Europe.
8 December 2005
BRUSSELS - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Thursday slammed calls by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israeli Jews to move to Europe.
Steinmeier, attending a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, said such statements also shed a worrying light on Iran's stance in ongoing negotiations over its nuclear programme.
"This shows with how little seriousness or how much cynicism the negotiations are being conducted," said Steinmeier.
The German foreign minister said all NATO states shared concerns over Iran's nuclear intentions.
Germany, France and Britain - the so-called European Union Three - are struggling to convince Tehran to abandon its controversial nuclear programme in exchange for trade and aid incentives.
But the talks have ground to a halt following Iran's decision this summer to resume uranium enrichment in Isfahan.
Ahmadinejad told a meeting of Islamic leaders in Mecca on Thursday that he did not believe in the extent of the Holocaust and that Israel should be transferred to Europe.
"If the Europeans were serious with (their concern for Israel), then they should provide the Zionists (Israel) with a place in their own countries, such as Germany or Austria," the news agency IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
Ahmadinejad said Iran and the Islamic world would support relocating Israel as a settlement of the Middle East crisis.
"Some of the European states claim that Adolf Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews and condemn or even jail anyone whoever with proof who doubts this," Ahmadinejad said.
Ahmadinejad, currently taking part in an Islamic summit in Saudi Arabia, said that while he does not believe the extent of the Holocaust, he could never accept the killing of Jews by the Nazis during World War II as justification by Europe for its support for Israel.
The call for Israel to be moved to another continent has been voiced several times by Iranian officials in the past as a protest against the Jewish state's establishment.
For President Ahmadinejad it was the second time recently that he has questioned Israel's right of existence in the Middle East.
Last October he quoted the late leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as saying that Israel should be removed from the map.
His remarks then earned him international condemnation, including from the United Nations Security Council. At home he was criticised by several Iranian political camps for pushing Iran towards international isolation with his remarks.
Ahmadinejad claimed he was merely quoting the late Ayatollah Khomeini and reiterating Iran's stance of the past 26 years.
(c) DPA with Expatica
Subject: German news