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Iranian Minister Says Israel Illegitimate

Manuchehr Mottaki (file photo) (Fars) 28 October 2005 -- Iran's foreign minister has reiterated that the rulers of the Islamic republic believe Israel is illegitimate and should be eliminated.

Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki, quoted in Iranian state-run media, said massive anti-Israeli Qods (Jerusalem) Day demonstrations would be staged today in Tehran and elsewhere to show the anger of the Islamic world over the existence of the Jewish state.

Mottaki is quoted as saying that President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's 26 October statement that Israel should be "wiped off the map" remains the policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

At a European Union summit near London on 27 October, British Prime Minister Tony Blair echoed widespread international condemnation of the Iranian president's remarks, saying the comments raise concerns about whether Iran poses a threat to global security and stability.

"Their attitude towards Israel, their attitude towards terrorism, their attitude on the nuclear weapons issue -- it isn't acceptable," Blair said. "Now, if they continue down this path, then people are going to believe that they are a real threat to our world security and stability."

French President Jacques Chirac called the Iranian president's comments totally senseless and irresponsible and said Ahmadinejad is taking the risk of turning Iran into what he called an "outlaw state."

Other European leaders, as well as Russia, Canada, and the United States, have also joined in condemning the Iranian leader's comments.

Israeli leaders have called for Iran to be expelled from the United Nations.

Arab-led governments have made no comment about the Iranian president's statement.