Israel accuses Iran of anti-Semitism after drug speech (REUTERS) By Dan Williams JERSALEM, ISRAEL 06/27/12 1:44pm EDT)
Reuters News Service
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(Reuters) - Iranian allegations that Zionists were inciting drug
trafficking and Jewish religious law called for annihilation of
gentiles prompted a sharp response from Israel on Wednesday which
said Iran was governed by fanatical anti-Semites.
The verbal clash highlighted festering tension in an international
stand-off over Tehran´s nuclear program.
A third round of nuclear talks between world powers and Iran 10 days
ago failed to resolve the stalemate. With that process seemingly
close to collapse, Israel renewed veiled threats of military action
against Iranian nuclear production sites, which it deems a mortal
While Iran and Israel have traded hostile rhetoric for years, the
remarks at a United Nations global drug enforcement conference in
Tehran by Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi seemed unusually
inflammatory to Western delegates.
Speaking on Tuesday, Rahimi said the Talmud, or canon of Jewish
religious law, "teaches them how to destroy non-Jews so as to protect
an embryo in the womb of a Jewish mother", according to excerpts
published by the Fars news agency.
He accused "Zionists", a term the Iranian government usually applies
to Israelis and their Jewish supporters abroad, of inciting drug
trafficking. "You cannot find a single addict among the Zionists,"
The New York Times, which covered the conference marking a U.N.-
sponsored International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit
Trafficking, further quoted Rahimi as saying Zionists ordered
gynecologists to kill black babies and that the Russian Revolution of
1917 was started by Jews - although none, he was also quoted as
saying, died in it.
The speech, for which at least 10 Western diplomats were present,
drew furious condemnation from Israel, which has been angered in the
past by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad´s description of the
Nazi Holocaust as a lie.
"The fact U.N. representatives and European delegates still attend
conferences in Tehran, at which the worst kind of anti-Semitism is
sounded, lends legitimacy to the Iranian ayatollah regime," Israeli
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said.
Iran´s government, he said in a statement, is "made up not of madmen
but of fanatical, anti-Semitic people with an agenda, who have a
detailed global plan including, as they say openly and forthrightly,
the destruction of the State of Israel".
Widely assumed to have the Middle East´s only nuclear arsenal, Israel
has hinted at pre-emptive war to prevent its arch-enemy from getting
the atom bomb. Iran denies having any such designs, though its often
secretive nuclear program has stoked foreign suspicion and drawn
increasingly tough sanctions.
Lieberman likened Iran to Hitler´s Germany but said that, post-
Holocaust, Israel would "not allow any Jew to be harmed".
He said the Islamic Republic, and any failure by the international
community to curb its nuclear work, would be "a sure recipe for
disaster and a threat to world peace".
The European Union´s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who leads
nuclear talks with Iran on behalf of six world powers, said Rahimi´s
speech was anti-Semitic and "unacceptable".
"(Ashton) is deeply disturbed by racist and anti-Semitic statements
made by Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi,"
spokeswoman Maja Kocijanic said.
"Such statements are unacceptable and should not be tolerated," she
A Western diplomat who was at the conference said Rahimi´s 10-minute
address left him "really shocked and surprised".
"We´ve heard speeches like this before but this was so much worse
than the usual rhetoric. This wasn´t about drugs. It seems the
Iranians want to create an issue and are deliberately looking to stir
things up," the diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Israel reacted to the latest fruitless nuclear talks between six
world powers and Iran with a well-seasoned message - sanctions must
be intensified while the clocks ticks down towards possible military
A high-ranking Iranian general then warned that any Israeli military
strikes on Iran´s nuclear program would bring about the collapse of
the Jewish state.
No further negotiations were planned after the June 18-19 round in
Moscow, and the European Union is to launch a total embargo on
Iranian oil exports on July 1.
Alun Jones, spokesman for the Vienna-based United Nations Office on
Drugs and Crime, said UNODC attended the Tehran conference as well as
related events across the world on Tuesday, as mandated by the U.N.
General Assembly, and that it could not anticipate what the Iranian
hosts would say.
Jones added: "The drug trade is motivated by business and profit, not
by ideological considerations, and also drug addiction is a health
challenge which affects all people, of all kinds, of all race, of all
creed and it is a health challenge that affects people in the same
(Additional reporting by Marcus George in Dubai, Fredrik Dahl in
Vienna and Justyna Pawlak in Brussels; Editing by Jeffrey Heller and
Mark Heinrich) (© Thomson Reuters 2012. 06/27/12)
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