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UN Antidrug Chief Rebukes Iran VP Over Anti-Semitic Remarks

Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi uses a pair of binoculars as he looks toward the Israeli border from the Iranian garden of Maroun al-Ras in May.
The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has condemned anti-Semitic comments by an Iranian vice president that linked the Jewish Talmud to narcotics trafficking.

In a statement, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said he has expressed "dismay and serious concern” about the comments by Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi.

Fedotov, a Russian national, said he expressed his rejection of the comments in a meeting on July 3 with the Iranian charge d'affaires in Vienna, where the UNODC is based.

Speaking at a UN-sponsored drug enforcement conference in Tehran on June 26, Rahimi said that teachings in the Jewish holy book encourage the spread of narcotics, with the aim of destroying the world.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington strongly condemned the "vile anti-Semitic and racist comments."

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and RFE/RL

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