Iran General NewsIran President’s remarks draw global rebuke

Iran President’s remarks draw global rebuke


Iran Focus: London, Dec. 15 – The United States and the European Union led a chorus of criticism against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for calling the Holocaust a “myth” on Wednesday. Iran Focus

London, Dec. 15 – The United States and the European Union led a chorus of criticism against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for calling the Holocaust a “myth” on Wednesday.

U.S. President George W. Bush defended his labelling of Iran as part of the Axis of Evil and said that Tehran posed a “real threat” to the international community. In an interview with Fox News, Bush said that he was concerned about the “theocracy that has got little transparency” and that Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had “declared the destruction of Israel as part of their foreign policy”.

Iran’s hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday the Holocaust was a “myth” that Europeans had used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world, and called for Jews to be moved from the Middle East to Europe, the United States, Canada, or Alaska.

Speaking at a gathering in the southern Iranian town of Zahedan (Sistan va Baluchestan Province), Ahmadinejad said, “Today, they have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets”.

“The Europeans say that during the Second World War six million Jews were killed, and they are determined in their claims to the point that even when scientists question them they deal with such scientists and jail and punish them”, he added.

Canada “vigorously” condemned Ahmadinejad’s remarks and summoned the Iranian chargé d’affaires to express its outrage, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin said, adding that the statements were “irresponsible, contrary to Canadian values, and have no place in the discourse of member states of the United Nations”.

“To cast doubt on the Holocaust and to suggest that Israel be ‘moved’ to Europe, the United States or Canada is completely unacceptable to the Canadian people”, Martin said, adding, “Canada once again urges Iran’s President to refrain from spreading messages of hate and to show more restraint, tolerance and realism”.

Stephen Harper, the leader of the main Canadian opposition Conservative Party, said that the Iranian leader’s comments were repulsive to the entire civilised world.

In Strasbourg, British Minister for Europe Douglas Alexander said, “The comments are wholly unacceptable and we condemn them unreservedly. They have no place in civilised political debate”. Britain currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi “strongly condemned” Ahmadinejad’s remarks, which she said had the endorsement of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and called for a firm policy vis-à-vis the Iranian regime.

Rajavi said that the international community’s “inaction” towards the Iranian regime’s words and deeds had “emboldened the regime into believing that it could pursue its ambitions to spread terrorism and fundamentalism with impunity”.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the Holocaust remarks could weigh on European Union efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.

“The recent remarks by the Iranian president … are certainly shocking and unacceptable”, he told reporters. “I cannot deny that they may weigh on our bilateral relations and naturally also on the chances for the negotiations on [Iran’s”> so-called nuclear dossier”.

Steinmeier said the Iranian charge d’affaires in Berlin had been summoned and Germany had made its disapproval “unmistakably clear”.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, “I think all responsible leaders in the international community recognise how outrageous such comments are”.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack characterised Ahmadinejad’s remarks as “outrageous”. “These comments are certainly reprehensible and all it does is to further isolate the Iranian government from the international community and, I would expect, from the Iranian people. President Ahmadinejad started digging himself a diplomatic hole with his speech before the United Nations. I don’t think he stopped digging. It is just astounding to see the kind of comments coming from the President of Iran that we see”.

“This shows the nature of the regime. With the great respect I have for that country, that people, the great history of that country, I say they do not have the president, or the regime, they deserve”, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters, the Associated Press reported from Strasbourg.

“Those statements are completely unacceptable, and it is really shocking that a head of state that has a seat in the United Nations can say such a thing”, Barroso added on the sidelines of a European Parliament meeting. “It calls our attention to the real danger of that regime having an atomic bomb”.

European Commission spokeswoman Emma Udwin also described the remarks as “completely unacceptable”. “Such interventions will do nothing to rebuild confidence in Iran’s intentions”, she said.

The Cypriot Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement calling Ahmadinejad’s comments “unacceptable”.

“Historical facts of such significance cannot be denied and efforts to downgrade their importance for any purpose are unacceptable”, it said.

In Vienna, Austrian President Heinz Fischer also termed the Iranian president’s comments as “unacceptable”.

“It is unacceptable to question the right to exist of a member state of the United Nations (UN), in this case Israel, and it is impossible to be taken seriously when one demands the removal of a member state of the United Nations onto the territory of other states”, Fischer said, adding, “We most firmly reject this”.

In Paris, a French Foreign Ministry spokesman condemned the Iranian president’s latest remarks “in the strongest possible terms” and called them “unacceptable”.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer released a statement on Thursday, saying, “Once again Australia finds it necessary to express its utmost condemnation of comments made by the President of Iran”.

“Such comments, so close on the heels of his earlier extremist statements, set a clear pattern which shows his apparent disregard for international concerns about Iran’s role as a responsible international citizen”, he said, adding, “This deeply disturbing trend only serves to reinforce our doubts over the motives behind Iran’s apparent nuclear ambitions”.

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