Israel urges world to condemn Iran leader's Shoah denial
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom called on all countries in the world to condemn comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday, who called the Holocaust a "myth."
"These are defamatory anti-Semitic remarks that stem from Holocaust denial," he said. "Everything must be done to halt the Iranian nuclear program by transferring the issue to the UN Security Council. The Iranians must not be allowed to gain precious time."
For the full story on Ahmadinejad's remarks, see today's International Herald Tribune.
Meretz-Yahad chair Yossi Beilin yesterday called on all countries to recall their ambassadors from Iran. "Isolating Iran from the community of nations is essential in order to emphasize the difference between those in the Islamic world who don't recognize Israel and want to destroy it, and those prepared to recognize its right to exist and make peace with it," Beilin wrote in a letter to the foreign ministers of the Quartet, which includes the United States, European Union and Russia. "I call on every country that has an ambassador in Iran to bring him home."
Germany, one of the countries leading the nuclear talks with Tehran, blasted the remarks as "shocking and unacceptable." The German government said Chancellor Angela Merkel would call on the EU to press for international condemnation of the comments at the United Nations.
"I cannot hide the fact that this weighs on bilateral relations and on the chances for the negotiation process, the so-called nuclear dossier," Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Berlin. The German government summoned the Iranian charge d'affaires to express its displeasure.
In unusually strong comments, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Iranians "do not have the president - or the regime - they deserve."
"It calls our attention to the real danger of that regime having an atomic bomb," he said.
EU foreign ministers were likely to discuss Ahmadinejad's comments during a European summit today, commission spokeswoman Emma Udwin said.
The White House said Ahmadinejad's words "only underscore why it is so important that the international community continue to work together to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons."
In response to Ahmadinejad's comment that Israel could be relocated to Alaska, MK Shimon Peres told the European Jewish Congress that "the president of Iran is the one who should be sent to Alaska, to chill his diabolical comments, which endanger world peace."