European Union leaders condemned Saturday Iran's president for denying the Holocaust, and warned Tehran the chance of a diplomatic solution on its disputed nuclear program would not last forever.
"These comments are wholly unacceptable and have no place in civilized political debate," the 25 EU heads of state and government said, referring to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement that the Nazi mass extermination of Jews was a myth:
They also voiced grave concern at Iran's failure to remove suspicions about its nuclear intentions, saying in a statement, "The window of opportunity will not remain open indefinitely."
Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guardsman who was elected president in June, in October called Israel a "tumor" which must be "wiped off the map", provoking a diplomatic storm and stoking fears about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Last week he first aired his doubts about the veracity of the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany. His comments drew rebuke the world over.
The tough language on Iran was part of a wider statement on the Middle East issued early Saturday after a marathon summit which ended in an agreement on the EU's long-term budget.
The leaders said Iran's resumption of the conversion of uranium ore, a precursor to making enriched fuel that can be used for power stations or weapons, only added to profound EU concerns about Iran's intentions.
The EU would keep its diplomatic options under review and calibrate its approach "given provocative political moves by Iran since May," they said.