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Israel Says Iran A 'Clear and Present Danger'

Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom (R) at his joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov today (AFP) 26 October 2005 -- Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom says Israel regards Iran as -- in his words -- a "clear and present" danger.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Jerusalem with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Shalom said it is clear Iran is trying to develop an atomic weapons capability.

Shalom's comments came after Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad called earlier today for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map.

The United States says Ahmadinejad's comments show why Washington is concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

France strongly condemned Ahmadinejad's statement, while Germany called it "completely unacceptable." German and France, along with Britain, are members of the so-called EU-3 group that is negotiating with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Iran says its nuclear activities are for purely peaceful purposes.