Reactions To The Iranian President
On Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel "must be wiped out from the map of the world." Reaction to this comment has been swift.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in remarks issued Thursday by the Israeli government press office, said he believed any country that calls for the destruction of another cannot be a member of the United Nations.
One of the strongest reactions to Ahmadinejad's remarks came from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said they were "completely and totally unacceptable."
"I felt a real sense of revulsion at those remarks," said Blair, who spoke Thursday at a press briefing after a European Union summit near London.
"There has been a long time in which I've been answering questions on Iran with everyone saying to me 'tell us you're not going to do anything about Iran,'" he said.
"If they carry on like this, the question people are going to be asking us is, 'When are you going to do something about this,' because you imagine a state like that with an attitude like that having a nuclear weapon."
[U.N. Secretary-General Kofi] Annan expressed "dismay" [ouch!] over the Iranian president's comments urging the destruction of Israel.
In a statement, Annan reminded "all member states that Israel is a long-standing member of the United Nations with the same rights and obligations as every other member."
"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," the statement said.
U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Ahmadinejad's views "underscores our concern and the international community's concerns about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons."
Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew: "We cannot tolerate comments of such hatred, such anti-Semitism, such intolerance. These comments are all the more troubling given that we know of Iran's nuclear ambitions."
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Thursday he condemned the Iranian statement "absolutely."What does the Arab world say?
"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," he told BBC radio.
Arab governments remained silent Thursday as international condemnation grew over a call by Iran's new president for Israel to be destroyed.Ahmadinejad's response to the world:
"My words are the Iranian nation's words," he told the official IRNA news agency, when asked if he had a message for the world.
"Westerners are free to comment, but their reactions are invalid."