Germans to walk out of UN meet if Ahmadinejad denies Holocaust
Ahmadinejad to speak to UN on Wed.; Peres: Iran leader one of most evil people of modern history.
German representatives will walk out in protest if Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust during his upcoming speech before the United Nations General Assembly, officials in Berlin confirmed on Tuesday.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed a report by the German newspaper Handelsblatt that Germany would respond harshly to any anti-Semitic rhetoric during the speech.
"We are seeking a common response from the European Union (EU) nations," said the spokesman.
In April, most EU delegates walked out of a meeting of the UN Human Rights Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, after Ahmadinejad claimed Zionism was "racism personified."
Earlier Tuesday, President Shimon Peres called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "evil" while addressing students at a college in northern Israel.
The President's remarks coincided with a push by Israel for countries to boycott Ahmadinejad's planned address Wednesday at the United Nations General Assembly.
"[Ahmadinejad] is one of the most evil and horrible people of modern history. [He] is pessimistic and has no future," Peres said and continued speaking about Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust and criticisms of Israel.
Israel has over the past days approached the foreign ministries of countries around the world in a bid to convince them to have their representatives leave the General Assembly hall when Ahmadinejad delivers his speech, Israeli officials said Tuesday.
Ahmadinejad, who sparked worldwide outrage and condemnation anew on Friday when he again denied the Holocaust, is due to make his address at 6P.M. New York time.
"The Holocaust is a false claim, a fairy tale, used as a pretext for crimes against humanity," he told an anti-Israel rally in Tehran last week.
Israel's UN ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, confirmed to Israel Radio Tuesday that her country's delegation, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would be absent from the hall during the Iranian leader's address in New York.
Ahmadinejad's spokesman, Mohammad-Jafar Mohammadzadeh, was defiant, telling the official Iranian news agency IRNA Monday that "the Zionist lobby would do anything to prevent our president from disclosing the Iranian standpoint and distort the message of global justice, but the Zionists will once again fail."
The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan on Tuesday, meanwhile, slammed Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial as an effort to "take the spotlight" off domestic turmoil in Iran.