Iran Summons Spanish Envoy Over Stance on Israel Remarks

Spain protested President Ahmadinejad saying 'in the near future we will witness the destruction' of Israel.

Iran has summoned Spain's ambassador to express its protest over Madrid's reaction to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent remarks against Israel, semiofficial Iranian news agencies reported Thursday.

On Sunday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the world would witness the destruction of Israel soon, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

A day later, Spain voiced its objection to the comments, with officials saying Madrid would summon Iran's ambassador to condemn the verbal attack. Spain's Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos called Ahmadinejad's comments unacceptable.

In response, Iran's Foreign Ministry director for Western Europe, Ebrahim Rahimpour, on Thursday told the Spanish ambassador that the Spain's stance was a surprise and hasty, the ISNA and Mehr news agencies reported in Iran.

Rahimpour also criticized Spain, saying it has been silent over Israel Defense Forces attacks on Palestinians, the reports said.

In a speech on Sunday, Ahmadinejad said: "God willing, in the near future we will witness the destruction of the corrupt occupier regime," IRNA quoted him as saying.

Israel responded Sunday by asking the international community for a condemnation of Ahmadinejad's comments.

Ahmadinejad's comments Sunday were not the first time the Iranian president has sharply denounced Israel.

In October 2005, he caused international outrage when he said in a speech that Israel "should be wiped off the map." Ahmadinejad's supporters have since argued that his words were mistranslated and should have been translated from Farsi to English as saying Israel would vanish from the pages of time, implying it would vanish on its own rather be destroyed.