Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Germany Warning Over Iran Remarks
Germany's foreign minister described as "shocking and unacceptable" Wednesday the Iranian president's description of the Holocaust as a "myth," warning that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments weighed on relations and talks over Iran's nuclear program. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said his government had summoned the charge d'affaires at the Iranian Embassy and made "unmistakably clear" its displeasure.

"I cannot hide the fact that this weighs on bilateral relations and on the chances for the negotiation process, the so-called nuclear dossier," he told reporters.

Steinmeier said Berlin is hoping for "a clear signal of the strongest disapproval" from this week's European Union summit. READ MORE

Ahmadinejad provoked an international outcry in October when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

He then expressed doubt about the Nazi destruction of European Jewry during the World War II, and went further Wednesday -- saying that the Holocaust is a "myth" that Europeans have used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.

"The new remarks by the Iranian president, in which not only Israel's right to exist is denied but also ... the Holocaust are indeed shocking and unacceptable," Steinmeier said.

Germany, along with France and Britain, has been leading diplomatic efforts to allay fears over Iran's nuclear intentions. Later this month, Iran is due to resume negotiations the issue with envoys from the three countries.