Sun, Oct 22, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Iranian leader warns Europe

NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE , TEHRAN

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Europe on Friday that continued support for Israel could lead to an act of revenge by those in the Middle East angry about the Palestinians' plight.

He issued the warning at a critical time; the UN Security Council is expected to begin public deliberations next week on whether to impose sanctions on Iran for defying a UN resolution to suspend uranium-enrichment activities by the end of August.

"People in the region blame you for any crime or invasion against any country and will take revenge on you," Ahmadinejad said, addressing countries in the EU.

"You should know that the rage of people is boiling and is like an ocean that is welling up," he said in his speech at a rally in Tehran.

"Once its storm begins blowing, it will go beyond the borders of Lebanon and Palestine, and it will hurt European countries," he added, without describing what revenge would entail.

Ahmadinejad made his comments at a rally called for Je-rusalem Day, held every year on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan in support of the Palestinian struggle against Israel. Ahmadinejad told tens of thousands of demonstrators that Israel could not last long after its battle this summer against Hezbollah militants in Lebanon.

"Hezbollah shattered the myth that Israel is undefeatable," he said. "Now Israel has no reason to exist."

State-run television showed tens of thousands of demonstrators around the country who chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel." People carried pictures of Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and burned US and Israeli flags.

In recent months, Ahmadinejad has caused international outrage by questioning the Holocaust and saying that "Israel should be wiped off the map," a slogan used often by the father of the 1979 revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

On Friday, Ahmadinejad talked again about the Holocaust, saying: "Even if we assume that 6 million Jews were killed in World War II, how come you don't have sympathy for the other 54 million who were killed, too? It is not even clear who counted those you have sympathy for."

He said Israel has effectively held European countries hostage for what happened during World War II.

Television reports also showed demonstrators chanting in support of Iran's nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad repeated on Friday that Iran would not give in to international demands to suspend its uranium-enrichment program and dismissed UN efforts to impose sanctions on Iran.

"They want to use the Security Council as an instrument to put pressure on our people," he said.

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president, warned Western countries that sanctions on Iran would have serious consequences.

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