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Germany Says Iran UN Speech 'Blatant Anti-Semitism'

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) -- Germany's foreign minister has blasted the Iranian president's speech at the UN General Assembly as "blatant anti-Semitism" and urged the 192 UN member states to join in condemning it.

On September 23, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad railed against "Zionist murderers" and dwelled on what he described as Zionist control of international finance.

"The statements of the Iranian president about Israel are irresponsible and unacceptable," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the General Assembly.

"The blatant anti-Semitism of his speech this year was intolerable and demands our mutual condemnation," he said.

The Iranian president has previously said that Israel should be wiped off the map.

Earlier on September 26, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a UN Security Council meeting on Israel and the Palestinians that the council should take up the issue of Ahmadinejad's comments about the Jewish state.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the same council meeting that "we will all have seen and must deplore the egregiously offensive comments of President Ahmadinejad."

Israel's President Shimon Peres said on September 23 that Ahmadinejad's comments echoed the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," an anti-Semitic tract from the early 1900s that purported to show a Jewish and Masonic plot to take over the world. It has since been exposed as a hoax.

Since World War II, Germany has made a point of condemning anti-Semitism because of its own Nazi past.