Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today echoed his earlier threats to “wipe Israel off the map” by telling a mass demonstration in Tehran, commemorating the 27th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, that Palestinians and “other nations” will remove Israel from the region, adding a warning to the West that harsh measures against the nation’s nuclear program would result in Iran walking away from the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“The policy of Iran has so far been pursuing nuclear technology within the framework of the NPT and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency),” he said. “If we see you (the West) want to violate the right of the Iranian people by using those regulations (against us), you should know that the Iranian people will revise its policies. You should do nothing that will lead to such a revision in our policy,” said Ahmadinejad.
The crowd, numbered in the hundreds of thousands accoding to state media, responded to Ahmadinejad’s defense of its nuclear program – believed by U.S. intelligence to be an effort to acquire atomic weapons – with cries of “Nuclear energy is our undisputable right,” “Death to America,” “Death of Israel,” “Death to Denmark.”
“The West is hiding its ugly face behind international bodies, but these bodies have no reputation among nations. You have destroyed the reputation of the NPT,” the Iranian president said.
Ahmadinejad blamed “Zionists” for the publication of cartoons that featured caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed in a Denmark newspaper, according to the German news agency, Deutsche Presse-Agentur. The resulting backlash has been angry Muslim protests around the world.
“I ask everybody in the world not to let a group of Zionists who failed in Palestine (referring to the recent Hamas victory in Palestinian elections) insult the prophet. “Now in the West insulting the prophet is allowed, but questioning the Holocaust is considered a crime,” he said, accusing Europaeans of not allowing “neutral scholars” to investigate “the truth about the fairy tale of Holocaust.”
“We ask, why do you insult the prophet? The response is that it is a matter of freedom, while in fact they are hostages of the Zionists. And the people of the U.S. and Europe should pay a heavy price for becoming hostages to Zionists,” Ahmadinejad declared. “We ask the West to remove what they created sixty years ago and if they do not listen to our recommendations, then the Palestinian nation and other nations will eventually do this for them. Do the removal of Israel before it is too late and save yourself from the fury of regional nations.”
Ursula Plassnik, foreign minister of Austria and current president of the EU condemned Ahmadinejad’s renewed threat against the Jewish state.
“That this type of completely unacceptable remarks are continually being repeated does not mean we should accept them in silence,” he said, stressing that peace in the Middle East meant both Palestinians and Israelis co-existing side by side in separate, secure states.
Ahmadinejad concluded his warning to Western nations to disassociate from “the Zionists” with almost evangelical zeal: “On the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian nation, numbering by the millions, call upon those governments to worship the Almighty God,” reported the Islamic Republic News Agency. “The era of military force is over, today is the era of nations, logic and worshippers of God,” he said.
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