Iran defended on Wednesday its President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denunciation of Israel as a racist state that caused dozens of delegates to stream out of a United Nations racism conference on Monday in protest.
"There was neither any accusation nor any incitement," Tehran's delegate told the plenary in response to those critical of Ahmadinejad's address, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who had called the speech "deeply regrettable".
"The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly rejects such irrelevant statements and considers them totally unacceptable and out of context," the delegate said.
On Wednesday, Ahmadinejad accused Israel on Wednesday of "brutal acts" and "ethnic cleansing" against the Palestinians, two days after his denunciation of Israel as racist prompted a walk-out from the Durban II conference on racism.
Ahmadinejad told a conference in Tehran on Israel's "genocide" in Gaza that Israeli "criminals" should be brought to justice.
He said Iran had submitted requests for the arrests of 25 "Zionist war criminals" to Interpol. Iran often refers to Israel as the "Zionist regime." Iran had previously announced that it had taken such action with Interpol.
"(They) must be held accountable for all their brutality," Ahmadinejad told the meeting of prosecutors from Islamic countries in a speech broadcast live on state television. His comments were translated by Iran's English-language Press TV.
Ahmadinejad also claimed the conference in Geneva was a defeat for Israel, Fars news agency reported.
"They wanted to make a new interpretation of racism but for the first time the spirit of freedom of the nations and governments neutralized the Zionists' evil plans," he said said.
"They kill innocent people, build atomic bombs and then misuse human rights as a justification for their inhuman acts just as they did with the Holocaust."
Ahmadinejad called Israel a "racist regime" Monday at the conference in Geneva and said the Palestinians had been "made homeless" after World War II "under the pretext of Jewish suffering" and under a misuse of facts about the Holocaust.
UK praises UN Chief's criticism of Ahmadinejad address
UK Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Peter Gooderham on Wednesday praised UN Chief Bank Ki Moon for his criticism of Ahmadinejad's speech Monday, saying "In this hall on Monday, we witnessed first hand the type of behaviour that marred the Durban World Conference Against Racism in 2001.
I commend the leadership shown by the UN Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights in condemning the Iranian President?s statement and I agree with the Secretary General that the Iranian President?s words were ?the opposite of what this conference is seeking to achieve.?
Gooderham said UK envoys would "remain at this conference and are determined to work with partners from around the world to find solutions to the problems faced by all victims of all forms of racism and discrimination today."
Meanwhile, Brazil condemned Ahmadinejad's verbal attack at Durban II as it prepares for a May 6 visit by the Iranian leader.
"Ahmadinejad trivialized the meaning of tragic and historically established events like the Holocaust," Brazil's Foreign Relations Ministry said Tuesday in a statement.
"Such comments damage the climate for dialogue and the understanding necessary for international efforts to end discrimination," it added.
Brazil said it would use Ahmadinejad's visit to the South American country to make clear its stance against such comments.
A number of countries walked out of the Geneva meeting during Ahmadinejad's speech, which was internationally condemned. Brazil's delegation remained in the meeting room for the president's speech.
Ahmadinejad plans to also visit Venezuela during his upcoming Latin American trip, returning a visit President Hugo Chavez made to Iran in April 2008.
As a result of that visit, the two members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries established a development bank with starting capital of 200 million dollars.
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