Iran TerrorismIran’s leader warns West on support for Israel

Iran’s leader warns West on support for Israel

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New York Times: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran warned Europe on Friday that continued support for Israel could lead to an act of revenge by those in the Middle East angry about the Palestinians’ plight. The New York Times

By NAZILA FATHI

Published: October 21, 2006

TEHRAN, Oct. 20 — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran warned Europe on Friday that continued support for Israel could lead to an act of revenge by those in the Middle East angry about the Palestinians’ plight.

He issued the warning at a critical time; the United Nations Security Council is expected to begin public deliberations next week on whether to impose sanctions on Iran for defying a United Nations demand to suspend uranium-enrichment activities by the end of August.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, addressing European countries, said, “People in the region blame you for any crime or invasion against any country and will take revenge on you.”

“You should know that the rage of people is boiling and is like an ocean that is welling up,” he said in his speech at a rally here. “Once its storm begins blowing, it will go beyond the borders of Lebanon and Palestine, and it will hurt European countries.”

He did not describe what revenge could entail in his speech, which was also carried live on radio.

The rally was called for Jerusalem Day, held here every year on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan in support of the Palestinian struggle against Israel. Mr. Ahmadinejad told tens of thousands of demonstrators that Israel could not last long after its battle this summer against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. “Hezbollah shattered the myth that Israel is undefeatable,” he said. “Now Israel has no reason to exist.”

State-run television showed tens of thousands of demonstrators around the country who chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” People carried pictures of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and burned American and Israeli flags.

Over the last year, Mr. Ahmadinejad has caused international outrage by questioning the Holocaust and saying, “Israel should be wiped off the map,” a slogan used often by the father of the 1979 revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

On Friday, Mr. Ahmadinejad talked again about the Holocaust, saying: “Even if we assume that six million Jews were killed in World War II, how come you don’t have sympathy for the other 54 million who were killed, too? It is not even clear who counted those you have sympathy for.” He said Israel has effectively held European countries hostage for what happened during World War II.

Television reports also showed demonstrators chanting in support of Iran’s nuclear program.

Mr. Ahmadinejad repeated Friday that Iran would not give in to international demands to suspend its uranium-enrichment program and dismissed United Nations efforts to impose sanctions on Iran as illegitimate. “They want to use the Security Council as an instrument to put pressure on our people,” he said. “But thank God they will never succeed.”

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president, warned Western countries at the same rally that sanctions on Iran would have serious consequences for Europeans. “I advise them not to implement the harmful decision they have made over Iran’s nuclear program,” he said. Mr. Rafsanjani has backed Iran’s nuclear program in public speeches but is believed to favor policies that would prevent confrontation between Iran and the West.

Mr. Ahmadinejad said last week that Iran would welcome sanctions because local industries would have a chance to grow.

Britain, France, Germany and the United States have been working on a Security Council resolution on Iran that they hope to introduce early next week. It may include a ban on nuclear or missile cooperation with Iran. European Union foreign ministers, meeting Tuesday in Luxembourg, agreed to call for limited sanctions.

In its first official response to the threat of United Nations action, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Iran would not “remain idle if sanctions are imposed.”

“It is big miscalculation to think the policy of carrot and stick can be pursued at the same time,” the statement said, according to ISNA, a government-affiliated news agency.

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