Photo: Reuters
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Photo: Reuters

Germany: Censure Iran over Holocaust remarks

Senior German government official says country hopes to ask United Nations Security Council to punish Iran for remarks made by its president questioning reality of Holocaust; adds that proposal to kick Iran out of 2006 World Cup an ‘an interesting idea’

Germany hopes to ask the United Nations Security Council to punish Iran for remarks made by its president questioning the reality of the Holocaust, a senior government official has said.


"We are looking at (possible) measures at the level of the UN," Thomas de Mazieres, chief of staff of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has caused international outrage with a series of anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish remarks, in the course of which he has said Israel - described as a tumor - should be wiped off the map, or moved to Europe, and cast doubt on whether the mass extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany ever happened.


But, de Mazieres said, Germany would only take such a step if there was "clear" agreement from its European Union partners.


'Iran isolates itself completely'


He said he thought the proposal by Green European Parliament member Daniel Cohn-Bendit and others that Iran should be kicked out of the football World Cup to be held in Germany next year was "an interesting idea".


The sport's governing body FIFA rejected the suggestion Thursday.


German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier writes in the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag that Ahmadinejad's remarks jeopardize talks between Iran and the EU on nuclear issues.


"After the comments by the Iranian president, discussions on nuclear matters between Europeans and Iran are going to become difficult," according to Steinmeier.


"The world needs verifiable guarantees that Iran is not seeking to procure the nuclear bomb," he writes, adding that there is a danger that "Iran isolates itself completely on the international scene."


On Friday, German members of parliament unanimously condemned Ahmadinejad's remarks as "incompatible with the standards of the international community."


Meanwhile, in a recent interview with Associated Press U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signaled that the United States has all but written off international negotiations to head off Iran's disputed nuclear program and is waiting for other nations to come to the same conclusion.


Rice predicted that the United States would have enough votes at the U.N. Security Council to impose international sanctions against Iran but hinted she was waiting for other nations to join such an effort.


"We also recognize that it is important for others to also come to the conclusion that we've exhausted the diplomatic possibilities," Rice said.


When asked whether she expects Israel to seek U.S. approval for a strike against Iran, Rice said Israel is not obligated to do so as it is a sovereign country that has a right to protect itself.


However, she quickly added that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he believes the best way to resolve the matter is through diplomatic efforts.


פרסום ראשון: 12.17.05, 18:30
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