Germany condemns Iranian calls for Israel's destruction

27th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

International condemnation for Iranian comments on Israel27 October 2005

International condemnation for Iranian comments on Israel
27 October 2005

BERLIN - As European Union leaders and Russia added support to a growing international condemnation of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for the destruction of Israel, the Iranian government Thursday urged its citizens to join mass protests against the Jewish state.

E.U. leaders meeting at a summit in England issued a joint statement Thursday in reaction to Ahmadinejad's comments the previous day.

"Calls for violence, and for the destruction of any state are manifestly inconsistent with any claim to be a mature and responsible member of the international community," said the E.U. summit statement.

"Such comments will cause concern about Iran's role in the region, and its future intentions."

Addressing a conference entitled "A world without Zionism" in Tehran Wednesday, Ahmadinejad said the late Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's prediction that Israel would be destroyed would soon be realised.

"God willing the eradication of Israel would soon be realized through the continued wisdom of the Palestinian nation," he said, describing Israel as an imperialist plant by the West against Islam.

Anti-Israeli demonstrations are to be held throughout Iran on Friday. In a statement carried by ISNA news agency, the government said the protests were a reaction to the crimes committed by Israel against the Palestinians over the past five decades.

"The flame of the Intifada in Palestine is shining more than ever on the way of liberating the residents of the prophets' land (Jerusalem) and has already caused humiliating defeats for the Zionists such as the forceful retreat from the Gaza Strip," a government statement said.

The anti-Israeli demonstrations, held on the last Friday of Ramadan, have been an annual event in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Israel had already reacted swiftly Wednesday, calling for Iran's expulsion from the United Nations. Vice Premier Shimon Peres denounced the comments as a "crime against humanity" which went against the U.N. charter.

Across the E.U. Iranian ambassadors were summoned to be officially informed of Europe's anger over the remarks.

Iran's Foreign Ministry responded by instructing its ambassadors to defend Tehran's stance. In a circular sent to embassies in Europe on Thursday, the ministry urges its representatives to put forward a "serious protest" against European ignorance towards "crimes" committed by the Zionists".

The foreign ministry's message said that continued support for Israel and discriminatory policies were the main cause of the Middle East crisis.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, currently on a visit to the Middle East, told reporters: "What I have seen on television is not acceptable. We will convey this to the Iranian side".

Iran's position "lent additional arguments to those who insist on bringing the Iranian nuclear question before the United Nations," he added.

Iran's ambassador to Russia, Golyamreza Ansari, has also been summoned to the foreign ministry in Moscow to explain Ahmadinejad's remarks.

The British Foreign Ministry described Ahmadinejad's remarks as "deeply disturbing and sickening", and warned that the comments would strengthen international opposition to Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The German government summoned Iran's charge d'affaires in Berlin to deliver a protest at Ahmadinejad's comments.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the move was a direct response to the Iranian president's remarks during a speech in Tehran.

The spokesman on defence of one of the three parties in the forthcoming German coalition government said it could "absolutely not" be tolerated that the leader of a U.N. member nation could call "without anyone commenting" for the elimination by force of another U.N. member nation.

Christian Schmidt of the Christian Social Union (CSU) said in a radio interview that Germany had to especially respond since support for Israel's right to exist was a core principle of modern German policy.

The Iranian ambassador in the Netherlands has also been called for a meeting at the country's foreign ministry.

Speaking for Dutch Foreign Minister Bernhard Bot, a senior official clarified that Ahmadinejad's remarks were "totally unacceptable".

A statement from the Spanish Foreign Ministry said it "rejected in the sharpest terms", Ahmadinejad's remarks. It added that Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has called the Iranian ambassador to Spain to an "urgent" meeting.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei said that Iran's ambassador to France, Sadegh Kharrazi, was "reminded that Israel's right to exist can not be contested" and that the "Israeli- Palestinian conflict should not serve as a pretext to question this fundamental right".

Sweden's Iranian ambassador has also been summoned to the foreign ministry in Stockholm.

Speaking Thursday, Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds said: "The state of Israel's right to exist should not be questioned. Remarks like this are unacceptable and undermine efforts to create peace in the region."

The U.S. State Department said Ahmadinejad's comments underscored concerns about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. "It reconfirms what we have been saying about this particular regime in Iran," said state department spokesman Sean McCormack.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said the comments were a reminder of the psychological pressure faced by Israel and required a U.N. response.

"It's a very dangerous, serious speech. I think it does represent grounds for a very great concern," he told reporters.

Copyright DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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