Outlandish remarks by officials of the Iranian regime are not without precedent. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s claim that there are no homosexuals in Iran, for example. Or his repeated declarations that the United States government was behind the September 11th attacks. Or his assertion that the Holocaust was a myth. Added to this catalogue is the recent shocking performance of Iran’s First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.
At the recent International Day Against Drug Abuse conference in Tehran, in front of foreign diplomats and U.N. officials, Mr. Rahimi said that the root cause of drug trafficking could be found in in the false teachings of the Talmud, which is the central text of Jewish religious law. He also claimed that the Talmud teaches Jews “how to destroy non-Jews so as to protect an embryo in the womb of a Jewish mother,” and that “Zionists” urged gynecologists to kill black babies.
International condemnation was swift. Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs said she was “deeply disturbed by racist and anti-Semitic statements made by Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.”
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said he has had to repeatedly call on Iranian leaders to refrain from making these kinds of anti-Semitic remarks and that he “deeply regrets expressions of hatred and religious intolerance.”
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi called Mr. Rahimi’s speech “disturbing and absolutely unacceptable.”
State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a written statement that the United States “strongly condemn[s] Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi’s vile anti-Semitic and racist comments.” She noted that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has confirmed that the conference was not held under U.N. auspices, “nor did officials in attendance have any idea that Rahimi would level such offensive charges.”
“The United States supports meetings that address the very real crisis of drug abuse and drug trafficking around the world,” said Ms. Nuland. “We trust that parties interested in combating the scourge of drug abuse and drug trafficking will focus their efforts on legitimate international meetings, and will join us in condemning such attempts to take advantage of them to promote hateful, racist speech.”