24 April 2006
TEHRAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday called on Jews in Israel to go back to their countries of origin and allow the Palestinians to return to their homelands.
"Anti-Semitism in Europe has forced Jews to leave their countries of origin, but what they did instead was occupy a country which is not theirs but that of Palestinians," Ahmadinejad said in a press conference in Tehran.
He said that the dilemma in the Middle East could be settled only within a "just peace plan," but this first required the return of all Palestinians to their homelands.
"The fact is that Israel can ultimately not continue its existence," he said.
While adopting a softer tone than before about the Holocaust, he still demanded a free evaluation of its real extent "in order to find the ultimate truth."
"We are sorry for any human being killed in the two world wars. We respect Moses as we respect Jesus, but it is just unacceptable that the Palestinians should suffer from the aftermath," Ahmadinejad said.
A senior Israeli government official, who preferred not to be named, accused the Iranian president of offering a "Nazi-type solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Our hope is that 61 years after the Holocaust, which we are commemorating today (in Israel), the world will have awakened to the words of Ahmadinejad, who seeks not only to erase Israel off the map, but to erase the map of Western civilization as we know it," he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur, dpa.
"What he is offering is a recipe for another world war. If the world ignores what he is doing, it will be repeating the mistakes of the past," he said, alluding also to Israel's demands for UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.
Ahmadinejad, however, blamed the West for branding him as a "warmonger" simply for demanding what he said were the rights of the suppressed nation of Palestine.
The Iranian president also addressed Germany and said that the third post- war generation was no longer responsible for crimes committed by the Nazis and should not allow being blamed for that era.
"Still symbols (from the Nazi era) are made in Germany and the Germans are still condemned for the crimes of their fathers and grandfathers. Still the third post-war generation of Germans is blackmailed for what happened at a time when they were not even existent," he said.
Since he took over the presidency last August, Ahmadinejad has several times doubted the extent of the Holocaust, termed it as a "fairy tale" and further hoped for the eradication of Israel from the Islamic world.
He had also called for the relocation of Israel to Europe or America, even Alaska.
His remarks caused an international uproar and also increased global concerns over Iran using its missiles, potentially with nuclear warheads, against the Jewish state.
Ahmadinejad also said Monday that Iran would continue its nuclear projects and not give in to "illegitimate" demands by superpowers.
"We are already an atomic state but we will use our nuclear technology just for civil purposes," Ahmadinejad said.
"Who are you to tell us not to pursue nuclear technology? We are willing to produce our own fuel for our nuclear plants," he said, adding: "We have no secret projects - everything is transparent and monitored by the cameras of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"But we cannot accept being member of an international body, being tied to all commitments but neither having any support nor rights nor help."
Referring to the United States, he accused the IAEA of being the messenger of demands by a superpower and said that this was "just unacceptable" for Iran.
"I will soon send a message to the heads of some relevant states about the nuclear issue and reiterate our wish to have a nuclear free Middle East, especially disarm those states (Israel) which have a nuclear arsenal," Ahmadinejad said.
He did not mention which states would get his message but it was believed the European Union trio of Britain, France and Germany as well as China and Russia would be among them.
Referring to the deadline by United Nations Security Council to suspend uranium enrichment until April 28, he said the council should act according to international laws and its authorities.
"We cannot accept everything the UN Security Council says. Its members should act according to the laws and not just voicing the demand of a super power," Ahmadinejad said.
"We want to work within the rules of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and IAEA but if a cooperation within the internationally acknowledged rules is not possible, then we will revise (NPT and IAEA membership)," he added.
Referring to a question on privileges by the West to encourage Iran to drop its nuclear programmes, the president said that he would make no concessions which would endanger the country's independence.
He also indicated that Iran would not accept the Russian proposal to enrich converted Iranian uranium in Russia.
"Russia has its enrichment programme, we have our own enrichment programme and the proposal was from six months ago (when Iran had no enrichment programme yet)," he said.
Iran's Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki had also rejected the United Nations Security Council demand to suspend uranium enrichment in a speech earlier.
"Telling Iran we have atomic bombs but you are not entitled to even have civil nuclear technology is a logic which we definitely reject," he said.
"The Iranian nation will decisively and unanimously stand behind its legal right to pursue nuclear technology in line with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)," Mottaki told reporters in Tehran.
Meanwhile, Iranian Defence Minister General Mostafa Mohammad Najar warned the US against a military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities, saying that "God's hell" awaited their military personnel.
According to the Fars news agency, Najar reminded Americans of their rescue operation in Tabas, northeast Iran, telling them to "remember the destiny of their soldiers who were burnt in God's hell."
A US military operation in 1980 aimed at rescuing Americans held as hostage by radical Iranian students in the former US embassy in Tehran ended in disaster when one of the US jet fighters crashed over Tabas, burning the pilots to death.
"In case of an attack the Americans will face a more severe defeat than in Tabas," the general said while calling on Washington to put an end to hostilities against the Iranian nation.
Iranian officials have been making frequent calls to their citizens to show resistance, after Washington indicated that it had not a ruled out a military strike to prevent Iran from using nuclear technology for military purposes.
DPA with Expatica
Subject: German news
Although hard to imagine, the shortage in the skilled and highly-educated workforces is expected to grow in the coming years. Expatica therefore introduces the International Job Fair, the event for pursuing an international career in the Netherlands.
Meet the most eligible internationals in Germany at Expatica Date!
Join Expatica's online community to reach out for expats just like you!
What you need to know about German schools and daycare.
Want to move to Germany but haven’t figured out the details? Check out Expatica’s overview of the German permit system.
In part one of our two part series, we cover the driving culture in Berlin, where to park and buy gas and, most importantly, the laws.
Our comprehensive guide includes information on how to find work, recruitment agencies, employment contracts and labour law.