Tehran, Oct. 27 (Reuters): Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today that Israel should be “wiped off the map”, the official IRNA news agency reported, a statement roundly condemned by three European powers and Canada.
Support for the Palestinian cause is a central pillar of the Islamic republic which officially refuses to recognise Israel’s right to exist.
“Israel must be wiped off the map,” Ahmadinejad told a conference called “The World without Zionism”, attended by some 3,000 hardline students.
Ahmadinejad, a former member of the hardline Revolutionary Guards and traditional religious conservative, said there could be no let-up in its hostility to Israel. “The Islamic world will not let its historic enemy live in its heartland,” he said.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Washington took such remarks seriously. “It underscores the concerns we have about Iran’s nuclear intentions,” he said.
France, Spain, Britain and Canada condemned the remarks. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Iran should be expelled from the UN. “Such a country that has nuclear weapons is a danger, not only to Israel, but also to Europe,” Sharon said.