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Iran Says It Has No Intention To Attack Israel

29 October 2005 -- Iran said today that it stood by its commitments under the UN Charter and would not use force against any country, nor threaten to do so.

The comment came in a Foreign Ministry statement carried today by Iran's state IRNA news agency. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad caused an international outcry on 26 October  when he said that Israel should be "wiped off the map."

The remarks have been condemned by nations across the world and yesterday, the UN Security Council in a statement said UN member states should refrain from threatening or using force against another country.

Ahmadinejad yesterday stood by his remarks and said his words were those of the Iranian people.

A statement from the Iranian Foreign Ministry said the UN declaration was unacceptable and proposed by the "Zionist regime."

Ahmadinejad is not the first Iranian leader to say Israel should be wiped off the map. But his remarks drew a sharp reaction from around the world.

International Criticism

Mihnea Motoc, Romania's ambassador to the UN, spoke on behalf of the UN Security Council yesterday. "The members of the Security Council condemn the remarks about Israel attributed to his excellency Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran," Motoc said.

That brought this response from Israel's ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman. "Israel welcomes the condemnation by the Security Council of the outrageous remarks by the president of Iran, remarks which are not only alarming and dangerous, but have actually unmasked what extremism, fundamentalism, and madness is actually part of that world-threatening regime," Gillerman said.

The UN Security Council was the latest international body to express strong disapproval of Ahmadinejad’s comments.

There's been condemnation from Britain, Germany, France, and the United States. The State Department said the remarks "underscored" Washington's concerns that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, a claim denied by Tehran.

Even Russia, which has opposed moves to punish Iran over its nuclear policy, expressed displeasure.

Iran, is turn, has shown surprise that remarks made previously, not just by Iranian leaders but others in the Muslim world, should have evoked such a backlash in the international community.

Iranian officials say the outrage has more to do with Iran’s plans to build nuclear power facilities than with calls for the end of the Jewish state.


Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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