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Anti-Israeli comments by Iran 'reprehensible': US

Written by: Staff
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Washington, Apr 15: The United States today termed as ''reprehensible'' the latest anti-Israel comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said it could only add to international concerns about Teheran's nuclear intentions.

The Iranian leader yesterday said Israel is heading toward annihilation, while also again questioning whether the World War II Nazi extermination campaign against Jews actually occurred.

When the issue was raised by reporters in State Department daily briefing here today, spokesman Sean McCormack said the Iranian president's repeated statements about the desirability of Israel's destruction have to be seen as reflecting Iran's actual intentions which, the spokesman said, would only add to international fears and concern about what US officials say is Tehran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

McCormack said, ''It is more reprehensible rhetoric from the President of Iran. This is the kind of rhetoric, I think, that has only added to the fears and concerns of the international community as it relates to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.'' President Ahmadinejad, in a speech, had depicted Israel as a permanent threat to West Asia that will soon be eliminated, while also again calling into question the truth of the Nazi Holocaust.

The Iranian leader also brushed aside as unimportant a warning by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Tehran could face strong action for defying a UN Security Council call for Iran to end uranium enrichment and return to negotiations over its nuclear programme.

McCormack said that for the elected leader of one country to call for the elimination of another sovereign state is a source of grave concern, adding that it was a troubling element for diplomats from the permanent Security Council member countries as they prepare for talks on what to do next on the nuclear issue.

''I think that when they do bring up this topic, of how to deal with the Iranian nuclear programme, that this kind of rhetoric -- which we can only assume represents the true policy intentions of the Iranian regime -- will provide impetus for the international community to act in a strong, diplomatic manner with respect to Iran to force them through diplomatic leverage, to change their behavior,'' he said.

UNI

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