Saturday 29 October 2005
Last Update 29 October 2005 12:00 am
TEHRAN, 29 October 2005 — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday stood by his anti-Israeli remarks earlier this week, saying that Israel did not want to hear any criticism.
“They (Israelis) kill innocent Palestinian men, women, children, destroy their houses, steal their belongings, deliberately kill Palestinian officials and then expect that nobody should voice any criticism,” Ahmadinejad told the Iranian state news agency, IRNA.
“(The West) always makes demands and thinks that the whole world must be obedient to their demands. So therefore it is natural that they show such a reaction to reasonable remarks,” the president said in reference to condemnation by Western leaders of his wish to see Israel “wiped off the map.”
The news agency Fars quoted Ahmadinejad as saying that “the struggle against Zionism must go on.”
The president was among thousands of people who took part in state-organized anti-Israel rallies yesterday in Tehran and in other cities around the country. Ahmadinejad was accompanied by several Cabinet ministers, including Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki.
Soldiers, civil servants and women joined the demonstrations.
“Ahmadinejad talks on behalf of all Iranians. We are ready to die for Palestine,” said Mohammad Mirzayi, 25, a volunteer member of the Basij militia.
Support for the Palestinian cause is a key commitment of Iran’s foreign policy.
Israel’s Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom called yesterday for an emergency session of the UN Security Council over Ahmadinejad’s call.
“I asked our ambassador at the United Nations to call for an emergency session of the Security Council and I spoke with (UN Secretary General) Kofi Annan,” he told public radio.
Israel is “determined to continue a diplomatic offensive to denounce Iran,” the minister added from Paris where he is meeting French ministers.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Israel believed the international community “must make Iran face up to its responsibilities.”
“We are demanding concrete action with regard to Iran,” he added.
Late on Thursday, Israel’s UN envoy Dan Gillerman formally requested that Iran be expelled from the United Nations. “No member state that calls for violence, death and destruction, as the president of Iran did yesterday, deserves a seat in this civilized body, the United Nations,” Gillerman said in letters sent to Annan and the current president of the UN Security Council, Romanian Ambassador Mihnea Motoc.