At a conference in Tehran entitled "The World Without Zionism," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Israel should be "wiped off the map." He dismissed Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and called for more terrorist attacks against Israel.
Mr. Ahmadinejad's menacing words provoked condemnation around the world. U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the Iranian president's comments confirm what the United States and others have been saying about "this particular regime in Iran":
"I think you are starting to see, through some of these remarks, some of the true views. . . .of this regime. And I think that it only serves to underscore our concern as well as the international community's concern about Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons."
Other governments condemned the Iranian president's comments. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, "I have never come across a situation of the president of a country saying they want to. . . .wipe out another country. Their attitude towards Israel, their attitude towards terrorism, their attitude on the nuclear weapons issue, it isn't acceptable. . . .Can you imagine a state like that with an attitude like that having a nuclear weapon?"
The twenty-five European Union leaders attending a summit outside London also condemned the Iranian president's remarks, saying they "will cause concern about Iran's role in the region and its future intentions." Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew said his country would "never accept such hatred, intolerance and anti-Semitism." Australian Prime Minister John Howard called Mr. Ahmadinejad's remarks "dangerous." "To have the president of any country saying another should be wiped off the face of the earth," said Mr. Howard, "is a reminder of the psychological pressure, quite apart from the actual pressure, that the state of Israel is under, and this obviously is an issue that the United Nations has to address."
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said that the Iranian president's comments underscore "the concerns we have about Iran's nuclear intentions."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.