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Germany, EU Condemn Iran Leader's Comments

DW staff / AFP (nda, jb)
December 16, 2005

Recent outbursts against Israel have brought Iran international condemnation. As the EU tries to save increasingly difficult nuclear discussions with Tehran, worrying reports of Iran's missile capability are published.

President Ahmadinejad's words have caused outrage and his actions are raising fearsImage: AP

The German parliament unanimously adopted a resolution Friday condemning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's latest outburst against Israel while urging German leaders to keep up the pressure on the Islamic state.

"The comments were completely unacceptable," read the motion adopted by lawmakers.

Parliamentarians also asked the government to "counter any policy that disputes Israel's right to existence" and called for the UN to condemn the remarks.

"Those comments make a mockery of the six million victims of the Holocaust," said Social Democratic Party spokesman Christoph Strässer.

The move follows a similar motion by the European Union Friday, slamming the Iranian president comments and warning Tehran over its nuclear program, in draft summit conclusions.

"The EU condemns unreservedly President Ahmadinejad's call for the eradication of Israel and his denial of the Holocaust," said the conclusions, which were due to be adopted later Friday. "The comments are wholly unacceptable and have no place in a civilized political debate."

Unleashed a wave of condemnation

Ahmadinejad unleashed a wave of condemnation from world leaders this week after he described the Holocaust as a myth and called for the state of Israel to be moved as far away as Alaska. The EU leaders urged Tehran to "join the international consensus on the need of a two state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."

EU Sterne spiegeln sich im Europa Rat
The European Council is talking tougher as events become more graveImage: AP

They also called for Iran "to support the search for peace between Israel and its neighbors and to end the support for groups which advocate or engage in acts of terrorism."

Those remarks, which come after similar comments in recent months, have stoked growing alarm in Europe and added to concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

EU warns diplomatic window will not always be open

Amid a long-running standoff with Tehran over its nuclear program, EU leaders warned time was running out for a diplomatic solution.

"The European Council is gravely concerned at Iran's failure to build confidence that its nuclear program is exclusively peaceful," they said in conclusions of their summit focused primarily on the bloc's budget. "While the EU continues to work for a diplomatic solution, the window of opportunity will not remain open indefinitely."

The statement comes ahead of an EU-Iran meeting next Wednesday in Vienna, but European and Western diplomats say there is little hope of progress in getting Tehran to abandon nuclear fuel work that raises concerns it seeks to make nuclear weapons.

The Vienna-based UN watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found Iran in non-compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for almost two decades of hidden nuclear activities, a finding that requires eventual referral to the Security Council, which can impose sanctions.

The IAEA in November put off taking Iran to the Council after Britain, France and Germany -- which have been leading the European diplomatic effort -- agreed to give more time for new Russian diplomacy to work.

Iran says program is peaceful but reports suggest otherwise

Iran insists its nuclear program is a peaceful effort to generate electricity and that it therefore has the right to enrich uranium on its territory. Enrichment makes what can be fuel for nuclear power reactors but also the raw material for atom bombs.

The concerns over Iran's objectives will not be eased by a report in the German newspaper Bild on Friday which quotes a report from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service (BND) stating that Iran has bought 18 mid-range rocket delivery systems from North Korea.

Iran stellt bei Parade neue Mittelstreckenrakete vor
New and modified rockets could pose a threat to Iran's neighbors and international rivalsImage: AP

It was widely known that Tehran possessed the Shehab-3 rockets with a range of 1,300 kilometers but the report suggest that the BM-25 missiles, with a range of 2,500, when combined with existing Russian technology the Iranians own, could reach a range of 3,500 kilometers. This is almost the distance from Tehran to Berlin.

Missiles could threaten Europe, Israel, even US

The missiles could also be armed with nuclear warheads and would be more than capable of reaching Israel and parts of Central Europe.

According to the Bild report, the BND already suspects that Iranian experts are working towards adapting missiles to carry atomic payloads. The article stated that German agents have identified a site at Tabriz, 600 kilometers northwest from Tehran where work was being carried out on testing silo-based rockets.

Karte Iran und Teheran
The development of long range missiles could further destabilize the regionImage: AP Graphics/DW

Combined with news that a delivery of rocket components on its way to Iran from China was intercepted recently causes even more concern. The aluminum tubing could, in principle, be used to adapt an existing missile into a multistage rocket capable of traveling up to 10,000 kilometers -- which would put the United States in range.

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