Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ahmadinejad: Europe Must Back Iran or Suffer

ABC News:
Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been quoted as saying European nations should stand by his country in the dispute over its nuclear program or suffer damages. According to an excerpt of an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel news magazine Mr Ahmadinejad also says he still has not decided whether to visit Germany during next month's World Cup soccer tournament.

"They are losing their reputation," Mr Ahmadinejad said, referring to European nations that have worked with the United States to hinder Iran's nuclear ambitions.

In the nuclear conflict, the Europeans "should stand on the side of Iran", Der Spiegel quotes him as saying.

Otherwise "they will carry the damages from that". He did not elaborate. READ MORE

But Mr Ahmadinejad adds Iran is interested in improving what he calls "already good relations" with Europe.

Iran says it has a right to a nuclear program, and denies US accusations it is trying to build an atomic bomb.

It says it only wants to enrich uranium to a level suitable for use in nuclear power reactors.

Holocaust remarks

Mr Ahmadinejad, who has been criticised in Europe for anti-Israel remarks in the past, has also repeated previous statements about doubts on whether the Holocaust happened.

Six million Jews were killed by the Nazis and their allies in the Holocaust.

"I only accept something as the truth if I am truly convinced of it," he said.

Iran is one of the 32 teams to qualify for the World Cup, and Mr Ahmadinejad says he has not yet made up his mind about attending the tournament.

Some German leaders, including Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, have said he should be allowed to come because Germany wants to be a good host while others say he should not be allowed into Germany for questioning Israel's right to exist.