EU slams Iranian leader's holocaust remarks
16.12.05 @ 09:54
EU member states meeting in Brussels are set to condemn Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over sensational remarks on Israel, and for denying the holocaust.
Mr Ahmadinejad made new headlines earlier this week, saying the holocaust is a "myth fabricated to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world."
Added to earlier remarks that the state of Israel is a "tumour" that should be moved to Europe or "wiped off the map", the latest remark has stoked fresh alarm among EU officials.
In a draft declaration issued by EU foreign ministers ahead of the two-day summit in Brussels, the union strongly condemned the Iranian president's remarks.
"The European Council condemns unreservedly president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for the eradication of Israel and his denial of the holocaust", said the draft version of the declaration.
"These comments are wholly unacceptable and have no place in civilized political debate", it continued.
The draft text is set to be formally approved by EU leaders on Friday (16 December), EU officials said.
The 25 ministers have decided to summon the Iranian representatives in their respective countries to present them with formal protests.
Ministers in Brussels on Thursday (15 December) also called on Iran to join the international consensus on the need for a two-state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict and to end support for groups which advocate or use violence.
EU-Iranian nuke talks jeopardized
Ahmadinejad's stance has also lead Brussels to question the EU's long-term relationship with Iran, with ministers concerned at the lack of "reason" in Tehran.
European leaders announced on Thursday that they are running out of patience with Iran, less than a week before EU diplomats are expected to reiterate negotiations with the country over its nuclear program.
"The government in Tehran must understand that the patience of the international community is not endless", German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said ahead of the Brussels summit.
A commission spokesperson indicated that the Iranian president's comments were "against his own interest."
The EU is engaged in negotiations with Iran on its nuclear enrichment programme, which the international community fears could be used for the production of nuclear weapons.
Official negotiations between the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany) have been suspended since August, but are expected to be continued next week in Vienna following a Russian compromise offer to enrich Uranium in Russia for Iran.
Iran insists that its nuclear programme is a peaceful effort to generate electricity and that it therefore has the right to enrich uranium on its territory.
On top of this, EU leaders have asked Russia to halt sales of anti aircraft missiles and other military equipment to the middle eastern state.