Middle East


Iran’s Call for the Destruction of Israel

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran waves Wednesday during a conference in Tehran. (Photo: Behrouz Mehri / AFP-Getty Images)

At a conference in Tehran on Wednesday entitled “The World without Zionism,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” “The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world,” he added. He also denounced moves by some Arab states to recognize Israel or normalize relations with it.

“A Brouhaha Over Nothing”

TEHRAN — Tehran Times (Conservative), Oct. 30:
Although the Iranian nation has shouted slogans against the Zionist regime since 1979, these slogans have never meant a physical confrontation with the Israel but rather referred to the need to wipe out all Zionist ways of thought, which never recognize anyone else’s right to live freely … Over the past two years, the Zionist regime has explicitly threatened the Islamic Republic because it possesses nuclear installations meant for peaceful purposes … Indeed, it is odd that the world has remained silent about Israel’s refusal to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (N.P.T.) but opposes Iran’s civilian nuclear activities. Unfortunately, instead of changing their stances toward regional incidents and adopting a fair attitude toward developments in the Middle East, the United States and other Western countries are actually trying to raise a brouhaha over a single statement by an Iranian official so they can divert attention from the ever-increasing crimes the Zionists are committing against the innocent Palestinians.
— Hassan Hanizadeh

“Beyond Condemnation”

JERUSALEM — The Jerusalem Post (Conservative), Oct. 29:
It is not every day that all 15 members of the United Nations Security Council rally to Israel’s defense. The wider context of the unanimous vote on Friday condemning … Ahmadinejad’s calls to “wipe Israel off the map,” however, must be concern that condemnations, in this case, are not enough … Iran’s genocidal call against Israel is not just one country’s problem. Iran’s support for terrorism, its nuclear ambitions, and its threats against Israel are not isolated concerns. They must be addressed as a package by the community of nations as a whole. This means moving beyond condemnations to doing what the U.N. charter was designed to do: protect international peace and security by imposing stiff multilateral sanctions against international aggressors. The charter, which the Iranian regime has the gall to wrap itself in, was written to be used in precisely such instances. We hope, not just for our own sake but for the world’s, that Iran’s contempt for that charter and the nations meant to implement it are misplaced.

“Very Wrong and Very Foolish”

LONDON — The Guardian (Liberal), Oct. 29:
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s characteristic combination of obtuseness and clumsiness was already apparent when he addressed the U.N. general assembly in September, and it was evident again yesterday when he insisted that his words “were the Iranian nation’s words.” It is not at all clear that this is the case. Outside the ranks of hardliners, ordinary Iranians, many observers believe, would be ready to accept what most of the rest of the world wants, which is that Israel should fully withdraw from the occupied territories and that a viable Palestinian state should come into being. This is precisely what Mr. Ahmadinejad is making more difficult at a time when Ariel Sharon’s deliberate fragmentation of Jerusalem and the West Bank is preparing the way for an ultimate territorial solution that would give Palestinians no basis for statehood worthy of the name.

“Contrived Fury”

JIDDA — Arab News (Pro-government), Oct. 28:
The wave of Western fury, with countries such as Canada, France, the U.K. and Spain hauling in the Iranian ambassador and protesting, looks contrived … Ever since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been consistently and vehemently anti-Israel. The rest of the world has known it and lived with it … So why the apparent anger at something known? And why is it that only the West is making a fuss? ... Washington, which does not have diplomatic relations with Tehran and so could not haul in the ambassador to protest, let the cat out of the bag when it said that the comment showed it was right to be concerned about Iran’s nuclear program. Yet that is a worrying leap of logic. It suggests that the U.S. and the West imagine that a nuclear Iran would bomb Israel. If they do, it is frightening, given what happened with Iraq and the myth of weapons of mass destruction there.

“Iran Again Challenges the Security Council”

LONDON — The Daily Telegraph (Conservative), Oct. 28:
Such remarks by a head of state about a fellow member of the United Nations are unprecedented. The nearest equivalent is China’s refusal to renounce force in seeking reunification with Taiwan, a de facto sovereign entity; in July, one of its generals said his country was prepared to go to nuclear war with America over the island … Shimon Peres, Israel’s deputy prime minister and an archetypal dove, has suggested that Iran be expelled from the U.N. The proposal is pertinent. A member that calls for the destruction of another defies the purposes of the organization’s charter, and should be sanctioned by the Security Council … Mr. Ahmadinejad’s speeches to the U.N. General Assembly last month and to the Teheran conference on Wednesday have richly confirmed his reputation as a hard-line ex-Revolutionary Guard. If the Security Council fails to confront such a rogue head of state, it does not deserve its name.