October 28, 2005 | Op-ed

Iran Calls for Israel to “Be Wiped Off the Map”

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies – Briefing

Iran's Call For Israel to “Be Wiped Off the Map” – Responses

Jonathan L. Snow                                                                                                                                                                                 October 28, 2005


Key Facts

·          On October 26th, 2005, the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, spoke at the “World Without Zionism” conference in Tehran.  At the conference, Ahmadinejad called for the destruction of the democratic state of Israel, and spoke about the confrontation, as he sees it, between Islam and the West.

·          International reaction was swift and unanimous, with world leaders forcefully stating that his comments were unacceptable.

Ahmadinejad's Speech

·          The Iranian Students News Agency published the full text of Ahadinejad's speech.  The following are key excerpts from the speech, as translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI):

·          “We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance [i.e. the West] and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years.”

·          “This occupying country [i.e. Israel] is in fact a front of the World of Arrogance in the heart of the Islamic world. They have in fact built a bastion [Israel] from which they can expand their rule to the entire Islamic world… This means that the current war in Palestine is the front line of the Islamic world against the World of Arrogance…”

·          “They [ask]: 'Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?' But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved…”

·          “Imam [Khomeini] said: 'This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.' This sentence is very wise. The issue of Palestine is not an issue on which we can compromise.”

·          “…he who accepts the existence of this regime [i.e. Israel] in fact signs the defeat of the Islamic world.”

·          “Very soon, this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel] will vanish from the center of the Islamic world – and this is attainable.”

International Responses

·          “He reminds all Member States that Israel is a long-standing member of the United Nations with the same rights and obligations as every other member. He recalls in particular that, under the United Nations Charter, all members have undertaken to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”  Statement from Kofi Annan

·          “We have recognized the state of Israel and we are pursuing a peace process with Israel, and … we do not accept the statements of the president of Iran … This is unacceptable.” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat

·          “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.” EU statement

·          “It is a completely unacceptable statement, of course. We should respect borders and respect the integrity of Israel, and we want Israel to live in peace with its neighbors.” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso

·          “For France, the right for Israel to exist should not be contested. This state was created by a decision of the U.N. General Assembly. International law applies to all. The question of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be used as a pretext to put into question the fundamental right for Israel to exist.”  French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy

·          “I was profoundly shocked by the statements of the Iranian president, which are totally senseless and irresponsible …  The Iranian president is taking the risk of his country being made an outlaw state.” French President Jacques Chirac

·          “Their attitude towards Israel, their attitude towards terrorism, their attitude on the nuclear weapons issue, it isn't acceptable. … Can you imagine a state like that with an attitude like that having a nuclear weapon?” British Prime Minister Tony Blair

·          “These sentiments are completely and totally unacceptable. I have never come across a situation of a president of a country saying they want to wipe out – not that they've got a problem with, or an issue with, but want to wipe out another country.” British Prime Minister Tony Blair

·          “The statements made yesterday (Oct. 26) by the Iranian president questioning Israel's right to exist are utterly unacceptable in the view of the German Government and to be condemned in the sharpest manner. … For the Federal Republic of Germany, Israel's right to exist is sacrosanct.”  German Government Statement

·          “I think we all must indeed be very sure that there is no attempt in the modern world to challenge the existence of sovereign states.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

·          “I want to vigorously condemn the remarks made by Iran's president. We are in the 21st century. Canada will never accept such hatred, intolerance and anti-Semitism. Never. … The comments are all the more troubling given Iran's nuclear ambitions and its refusal to cooperate fully with International Atomic Energy inspectors. … This refusal underlines the need for all countries to stand together to ensure that Iran is prevented from developing nuclear weaponry.” Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew

·          “What all of this does is underscores the validity of our and the world's serious concern about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons, as well as its continuing support for terrorism and its oppression of its own people.” U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack

·          “A country that calls for the destruction of another people cannot be a member of the United Nations … Such a country that has nuclear weapons is a danger, not only to Israel and the Middle East, but also to Europe.” Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon




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