Israel calls to expel Iran from UN following Ahmadinejad ”wipe off” call
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement about his hope that Israel be "wiped off the map" has triggered worldwide criticism and prompted Israel to describe the Iranian regime as "a clear and present danger".
"We believe that Iran is trying to buy time ... so it can develop a nuclear bomb," said Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom on Thursday. "Iran is a clear and present danger," he added at a joint press conference in Jerusalem with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"This is not the first time that this regime has wished for the destruction of the state of Israel," the Israeli minister said. "This kind of regime is very, very extreme and it would be a nightmare for all the international community if they had a nuclear bomb. "We believe that the time has come to move the Iranian file to the (UN) Security Council and the sooner the better." During the press conference, Lavrov also dismissed Ahmadinejad's comments, describing them as "unacceptable".
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres on Thursday called for Iran's expulsion from the United Nations. "This call contravenes the United Nations charter and is tantamount to a crime against humanity," Peres said in an interview with Israel Radio.
Earlier in Washington, the White House said the words of the Iranian president underlined US concerns about Tehran's nuclear ambitions. "It just reconfirms what we have been saying about the regime in Iran. It underscores the concerns we have about Iran's nuclear operations," spokesman Scott McClellan said, according to AFP.
On its part, France will summon Iran's ambassador to Paris to ask him about Ahmadinejad's comments, Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said. "I learned of the comments ... according to which the president of Iran says he wants Israel to disappear and said the conflict in the Middle East would perpetuate an age-old fight between Jews and Muslims," Douste-Blazy said in a statement.
Iran's charge d'affaires in London was being summoned Thursday by the British government over what it called "sickening" comments.
European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso on Thursday also condemned as "unacceptable" remarks by Ahmadinejad.
In Berlin, the German government said the comments were "completely unacceptable".