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German Foreign Minister Calls Ahmadinejad 'Disgrace To Iran'

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier: "Intolerable tirades..."
BERLIN (Reuters) -- Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has condemned Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's latest denial of the Holocaust, calling him a disgrace to his country.

In a statement Steinmeier said: "Today's statements by the Iranian President are unacceptable. With his intolerable tirades he is a disgrace to his country. This sheer anti-Semitism demands our collective condemnation. We will continue to confront it decisively in the future."

Steinmeier's condemnation was unprecedented in its tone.

Denying the Holocaust -- carried out by Nazi Germany in World War II -- is a crime in Germany, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Ahmadinejad raised the stakes against Israel on September 18 and called the Holocaust a lie, just as world powers try to decide how to deal with the nuclear ambitions of an Iran in political turmoil.

"The pretext [Holocaust] for the creation of the Zionist regime [Israel] is false...It is a lie based on an unprovable and mythical claim," he told worshippers at Tehran University at the end of an annual anti-Israel "Quds (Jerusalem) Day" rally. "Confronting the Zionist regime is a national and religious duty."

Ahmadinejad's comments on the Holocaust have caused international outcry and isolated Iran, which is at loggerheads with the West over its nuclear program.

Germany has been a particularly vocal critic of the Iranian leader's Holocaust denial.