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Germany

Germany Says Iran's Israel Remarks "Unacceptable"

The German foreign ministry said it had summoned Iran's envoy to the country Thursday over hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for Israel to be "wiped off the map".

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Ahmadinejad's remarks over Israel have incensed Germany

"We summoned the charge d'affaires to make clear to the Iranians that the statements by the Iranian president are completely unacceptable and to be condemned in the strongest terms," a ministry spokesman told AFP.

The Iranian ambassador to Berlin is currently out of the country.

Paul Spiegel, leader of Germany's Jewish community, which now numbers about 100,000, said that Ahmadinejad's remarks posed a new threat because they could embolden Islamic radicals around the world.

Paul Spiegel

Paul Spiegel fears the Jewish community faces additional threats

"I see the security of the community as facing an additional danger," he told Berlin daily Tagesspiegel.

Spiegel said he planned to participate in a protest in Berlin Saturday against a "Qods (Jerusalem) Day" rally by Islamic extremists calling for the "liberation" of Jerusalem from Israel.

"Barbaric language"

Meanwhile the foreign policy spokesman of the parliamentary group of chancellor-designate Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, Friedbert Pflüger, blasted Ahmadinejad's "barbaric language" and said it strengthened the suspicion that Iran "aims to acquire nuclear weapons."

"Those who want to wipe out Israel cannot be partners of Germany," Pflüger told the online edition of Der Spiegel newsweekly.

Merkel is expected to succeed Gerhard Schröder as German chancellor next month.

Germany is a member along with Britain and France of the so-called EU3 group that is negotiating with Tehran over its controversial nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks Wednesday at a conference in Tehran entitled "The World Without Zionism".

The comments have triggered widespread condemnation and prompted Israel to describe the regime in Tehran as "a clear and present danger".

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