Friday, October 28, 2005

Israel urges UN to throw out Iran

From The Australian: Correspondents in Jerusalem: October 28, 2005 ...

ISRAEL has urged world leaders to expel Iran from the UN over President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for the Jewish state to be 'wiped off the map'.

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres said that since the UN began in 1945, no head of a member state had "publicly called for the elimination of another UN member state....There has never been such a scandal, it is impossible to ignore this and close your ears," said Mr Peres, a Nobel peace laureate.

...At a conference in Tehran titled The World Without Zionism, Mr Ahmadinejad said Israel's establishment was "a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world.... As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," he said, referring to Iran's late revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The Iranian President's comments provoked swift condemnation. The White House said Mr Ahmadinejad's call "underscores the concerns we have about Iran's nuclear operations".
The governments of Britain, France and Spain summoned Iranian ambassadors for an explanation and the EU issued a statement saying: "Calls for violence and for the destruction of any state are manifestly inconsistent with any claim to be a mature and responsible member of the international community."

In Port Moresby, John Howard said the Iranian leader's speech was dangerous, and represented "grounds for very great concern". "To have the president of any country saying another should be wiped off the face of the earth is a reminder of the psychological pressure, quite apart from the actual pressure, the state of Israel is under, and this is an issue the UN has to address," the Prime Minister said.

...While Israel is in no doubt that Iran is trying to develop atomic weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow's intelligence "does not substantiate the allegations that we have a clear and present danger coming from Iran....We rely on the professional advice" of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr Lavrov said. "It is too serious an issue to be guided by politics."

But Britain agreed with the US that the Iranian President's call would heighten fears Iran might be trying to build an atomic bomb. A British spokesman said: "Ahmadinejad's comments are deeply disturbing and sickening."

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy condemned the outburst, saying the "issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot serve as a pretext for questioning Israel's fundamental right to exist"...


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