International Information Programs
November 2, 2005

November 2, 2005





**  There is "uniform international outrage" at Ahmadinejad's call for "wiping Israel off the map."

**  Iran, "moving backwards," displays its "sinister" stance as an "international aggressor."

**  Economics may stymie punishment of Iran, making calls to act "symbolic" and rhetorical.

**  Iran seeks to anger U.S. and please Muslims irritated with Iraq and the Palestinian issue.




Ahmadinejad's 'unabashed confrontation course'--  Editorialists wrote scathingly of the Iranian president's anti-Semitic "eclat" calling for Israel's destruction.  A French outlet opined that Ahmadinejad's remarks "are irresponsible" because they "feed the hatred of all extremists in the Middle East who believe they are invested with a mission."  Chile's center-left Diario Siete scored his "obscene expression," adding that the "fundamentalist mentality" obstructs "lasting peace in the Middle East."  Iran's reformist Sharq fretted that rulers reaching for "outlandish ideals" would not benefit Iran's 70 million inhabitants.  A UAE outlet wrote Iran "deliberately stirred the hornet's nest" for what other writers dubbed its "wider battle with the West."


Confirming Iran's image as a 'global pariah'--  "[President Bush's] designation of Iran as part of an 'axis of evil' will seem a shrewder judgment than that of the Euro-appeasers or the snob Islamophiles," declared the UK's conservative Daily Telegraph.  While a Czech outlet termed the "firebrand" Iranian's call "from the dark ages of fundamentalism" an "indirect appeal for genocide," others agreed "Hitler couldn't have put it better."  The conservative Australian heard in the call as well the "contemporary hate-ideology of al-Qaida."  A Thai writer judged that Ahmadinejad did "everyone a favor" by making his "government's policies so stark and shocking."  Belgium's Le Soir stated Ahmadinejad confirmed Iran's image as a "pariah country."


'Economic cooperation with Iran' by Russia and others--  An Israeli outlet spotlit lucrative Russo-Iran deals, and listed six others "that are profiting handsomely" from Iran.  This makes them reluctant to act to punish Iran.  Austria's Der Standard cited Iran as having "large political, economic and cultural ambitions," while Turkish papers saw "new signs of danger" from Iran's "exerting extraordinary efforts to develop its space program."  They added that Iran's launch of its SINA-1 satellite with Russian assistance--coterminous with Ahmadinejad's invoking the "fire of Islamic wrath" against Israel--did a "big disservice" to Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.  He was visiting Israel on the day of the launch, and the FM became hard-put to "persuade" Israel the "non-proliferation regime can be enforced with regard to Iran," a Russian paper explained. 


Tehran engages in 'saber rattling on the Great Stage'--  A minority held Ahmadinejad's "belligerent agitation" was "playing to his home turf" and those "angered by the war in Iraq and the non-resolution of the Palestinian issue."  With Iran seeking to "unify Islamic countries" against the U.S., its hard-line Kayhan labeled the call a "great achievement" for Islamists as well as global freedom movements.  It "foiled" attempts from Arab countries "moving toward normalization of relations" with Israel, but Jordan's Al-Rai countered that Iran's "atrocious" call was an invitation "for all the wolves of this earth to come to eat at the banquet of this region."


Prepared by Media Reaction Division (202) 203-7888,


EDITOR:  Rupert D. Vaughan


EDITOR'S NOTE:  Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 65 reports from 26 countries over October 27- November 1, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.




BRITAIN:  "Confrontation Is A Good Thing"


A commentary by columnist Mark Steyn in the conservative Daily Telegraph (11/01):  "Bush is a polarizing figure because these are polarizing times.  But, when the dust settles...his designation of Iran as part of an 'axis of evil' will seem a shrewder judgment than that of the Euro-appeasers or the snob Islamophiles.  Facing profound challenges, most political leaders in the western world have shirked confrontation on everything from Islamism to unaffordable social programmes--and their peoples will live with the consequences of that non-confrontation long after those leaders are gone."


"The Mullahs Want Iran To Be A Mental Hospital--So Let's Invite Them Over"


A commentary by columnist David Aaronovitch in the conservative Times (11/01):  "Young Iranians live undercover lives, admire American freedoms and desire more democracy.  But their progressive inclinations could easily be overturned by Western bellicosity.  Somehow we have to woo them, strengthen them, while not appearing to manipulate them."


"Hitler Couldn't Have Put It Better" 


A commentary by columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, in the left-of-center Independent (10/31):  "If the heat continues to be turned up by hard-line leaders on all sides, we could get 'pre-emptive' strikes by Israel, now that the principle has been established by the allies who embarked on the illegal war on Iraq.  They may be unwise enough to think that such an action would secure Israel, and that the world would approve of it; in reality, it would only strengthen the already bellicose anti-Semitic heroes of the Middle East, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad foremost among them."


"Iran Again Challenges The Security Council"


An editorial in the conservative Daily Telegraph (10/28):  “Shimon Peres, has suggested that Iran be expelled from the UN.  The proposal is pertinent.  A member that calls for the destruction of another defies the purposes of the organisation's charter, and should be sanctioned by the Security Council.  That body has seemed to court irrelevance over the past few years.  It declined to grasp the nettle of Saddam Hussein's repeated challenges to it s authority.  It has handed over North Korea's nuclear ambitions to six-party talks hosted by China....  Mr. Ahmadinejad's speeches to the UN General Assembly last month and to the Tehran conference on Wednesday have richly confirmed his reputation as a hardline ex-Revolutionary Guard.  If the Security Council fails to confront such a rogue head of state, it does not deserve its name."


FRANCE:  "Iranian Threats"


Dominique Quinio opined in Catholic La Croix (10/28):  “Words can be deadly....  The hatred expressed by the Iranian President is insufferable for the Israelis....  It leads them to see in each of their Muslim neighbors a potential threat.  Especially if that neighbor has the atomic bomb!  It makes the position of the peace proponents in Israel even more delicate.  Ahmadinejad’s remarks are irresponsible because they feed the hatred of all extremists in the Middle East who believe they are invested with a mission....  This verbal violence also makes Mahmoud Abbas’s job even more difficult… And last but not least his stance is not good news for the Iranians themselves who are the first victims of such radicalization.... International diplomacy has raised its voice against the Iranian President’s remarks: they are a direct threat to Israel and its American protector; but beyond that they are a threat to the region and a provocation for the UN.”


“When Iran’s President Harms Iran”


Pascal Boniface in right-of-center Le Figaro (10/28):  “With his remarks, Ahmadinejad has gone beyond what is acceptable.  He has done a disservice to the Palestinian cause which he claims to be defending, compromised his own country’s interests and thrown more oil on the raging fires of a strategic region....  His remarks of hatred and radicalism go against the spirit of the UN Charter. In taking this line he is doing a favor to Israel’s hawks…  Ahmadinejad is probably looking to strengthen his position within his own country and hopes to please the Muslim masses of the Middle East who are exasperated with America’s policies, the war in Iraq and the non-resolution of the Palestinian issue.  But while his domestic position may be strengthened, he will be weakened on the international scene....  His remarks are the worst possible confirmation of the international community’s fears regarding Iran’s nuclear intentions: the expression ‘wiping off the map’ is very close to ‘a nuclear attack.’  It is clear that Ahmadinejad and his views fit into the perspective of a shock between civilizations and break away from his predecessor’s rhetoric of dialogue.”


GERMANY:  "Biedermann And The Arsonists"


Christian Schütte commented in business-oriented Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg (10/31):   "The international community faces Iran as helplessly as Biedermann, who allowed an arsonist to stay in his house.  The Islamic Republic has always believed that it is its mission to push for Israel's destruction....  After a phase of hope and change under Ahmadinejad's predecessor, Iran is apparently moving backwards to the hard-line policy of its earlier years.  Tehran is now strengthened because it can influence the situation in Iraq and aims for nuclear weapons.  The European attempts to put a stop to this ambition failed miserably.  Military strikes would be so ineffective and adventurous that even Washington does not seriously consider them....  Biedermann was tolerant towards the arsonist because he did not want to endanger his self-perception as a good-natured idealist.  He ignored warning signals because they were nerve-racking and he dreamed of great harmony....  The contemporary author Leon de Winter called Ahmadinejad's speech a declaration of war.   One can dispute this view, but we should not behave like Biedermann and try to interpret the Islam-fascist statements in a way that we can deceive ourselves and allow our souls to rest in peace."


"Time For Diplomats"


Karl Grobe noted in left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (10/31):  "Israel's reaction to Tehran's new foreign policy is very understandable.  No government can ignore threats that its country should be eliminated, even if they do not even have the tools to do that.  However, to call for Iran's exclusion from the UN is a twofold sword.  It would then become logical to exclude also other nations from the international community, which promote any kind of regime change outside of their borders.  There would be a number of candidates.  This crisis, if it is really as serious as the rhetoric implies, cannot be solved be canceling the UN membership."


"This Matters To Us"


Lorenz Maroldt observed in centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (10/29):  "The extremist intentions can be heard even if the demonstrations remain quiet because their speakers are in Tehran.  Extremists take to the street across the world, also in Berlin, in support of fanatic calls for Jerusalem's liberation and Israel's destruction.  Iran's leadership threatens those who acknowledge the Zionists, saying they will burn in the fire of unrelenting Muslims.  We cannot stay quiet about this, not here and not there.  The political response was therefore strong, but what have the people said?  We are still waiting for their reaction."


"Israel Needs Effective Support"


Frank Herold argued in left-of-center Berliner Zeitung (10/29):  "Since the United Nations founded the state of Israel, its existence has been at risk.  The country has learnt to differentiate between the martial rhetoric from Muslims during the annual Al-Quds Day and the real danger.  Israel believes that the repeated statement by the Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who called for wiping off Israel, belongs to the second category.  Israel is entitled to a quick and effective support.  The demand to exclude Iran from the United Nations appears to be appropriate, but it is useless.  Who else should then influence Tehran?  Not even for a second must Israel now get the feeling that it has to master this situation on its own.  Otherwise the country could react in an act of self-defense.  The UN charter allows this also before the first missile was launched.  But the results would be unpredictable if Israel exercises this right.  Such a dangerous development can still be stopped if the international community can make very clear to the leadership in Tehran that President Ahmadinejad's breach of taboo will not remain unpunished.  The UN Security Council must quickly impose sanctions."


"The Path To Tehran Goes Via Moscow"


Andreas Cichowicz said on ARD-TV's (national channel one) late evening newscast Tagesthemen (10/28):  "After such words and pictures, we cannot act like everything is as business as usual.  They must not be tolerated or accepted. The worldwide outrage over the Iranian president must have consequences for the country....  The president tries to unite the masses behind him with specific provocations.  He apparently needs that.  Every escalation would help his regime and create a situation the president tries to achieve by his words....  It does not make sense to exclude Iran from the UN, but the UN Security Council must clearly condemn Iran. The statements violate all rules of the international law and the UN charter.  It would also make sense if the U.S. has a word with Iran's biggest trader and influential partner, Russia.  The path to Tehran goes via Moscow.  To engage in this process would also be a glorious task for the Putin-friendly German foreign policy.  Above all, we could make our contribution so Iran learns to understand that Israel's existence is indisputable."


"Blind Hostility"


Nikolaus Busse had this to say in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (10/28):   "The fact that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has organized an anti-Zionist conference and refers at this meeting to revolutionary leader Khomeini says a lot about him....  His most recent appearance at the UN General Assembly gave us an idea of a man...whose religiously based view of the world will be hard to rein in.  It is likely that he hopes that clear words against 'the great and small evil' (America and Israel) will give him the popularity he needs to implement his most important election promise: to end corruption in the country.  But the uniform international outrage at Ahmadinejad's remark should not obscure the fact that other countries have not yet found a good policy to counter this man and the forces that are behind him.  An exclusion from the UN, as Israel is now demanding, seems to be unrealistic and would hardly have an effect, since the government in Tehran gets its strength from the natural resources that co

untry has, the confusing situation in Iran and the play with the fears of the Iranian nuclear bomb in other countries.  But the latter should make all those people in the West think, who, in view of the hardened fronts in the nuclear conflict, are now talking in undertones about accepting Iran's nuclear armament.  One target of Iranian missiles would be Israel."


"Calling For Devastation And Genocide"


Centrist Leipziger Volkszeitung noted (10/28):  "With his appeal to wipe Israel off the map, Iran's President Ahmadinejad called for nothing less but for a war of devastation and genocide.  In view of such aggressive goals we need not guess for a long time what are the targets of Iran's nuclear ambitions.  In Israel, Ahmadinejad's belligerent agitation will strengthen the resolve to prevent Iran's rise to a nuclear power.  The looming scenarios will create unpleasant questions for the European advocates of a critical dialogue with Iran but also for the supporters of a tough policy in Washington: what about the future treatment of Iran, but also about the missed chances when Ahmadinejad's predecessor Khatami used the nuclear program as a negotiating card for a nuclear weapons-free zone--and was rejected."


"Saber Rattling On The Great Stage"


Dietrich Alexander noted in right-of-center Die Welt of Berlin (10/28):  "For the 49-year old hardliner Ahmadinejad, times have stopped in 1979 when the Islamic revolution, and Ayatollah Khomeini moved in a triumph from France to Tehran and promised a moral new beginning based on the pure doctrine of Islam....  Ahmadinejad has internalized the dogmas of the revolution and devoted himself to its ideals.... The president has now unmasked himself as an indoctrinated fanatic who is full of hatred.  What he is now doing is nothing but verbal terrorism.  By doing so he is doing his country a great disservice....  He may score points among conservative sources in Iran but outside of Iran he has confirmed the views of all those who consider the country to be a member of the axis of evil.… Tehran has now definitely lost all friends in the West.  Even the EU troika will now have realized that a critical dialogue with paranoid arsonists is not possible.  Those who use such an irrational rhetoric will possibly match his words with deeds some day in the future.   The Iran, which Ahmadinejad incorporates is of intellectual meagerness and threatened by a dangerous backwardness.  It must be ostracized and isolated until others are allowed to speak on behalf of this country."


ITALY:  "The Brave Choice"


Pierluigi Battista opined in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (10/31):  “With an act of intellectual honesty and political courage, DS leader Piero Fassino has adhered to the demonstration promoted by Giuliano Ferrara’s Il Foglio to protest against the reiterated intentions of Iranian President Ahmadinejad to ‘wipe Israel off the map.’ … By adhering to the pro-Israeli demonstration in front of the Iranian embassy, the DS leader has decided to replicate his and Rutelli’s decision to desert an anti-Israeli demonstration in Rome three years ago....  But now the political and cultural battle to contrast misunderstandings and blindness towards the existence of Israel has reached a point of no return.  On the level of symbols, the eloquence of a gesture makes it impossible to take a step backward.”


"In Rome, Left And Right Together ‘To Defend Jerusalem'"


Orazio La Rocca wrote from Rome in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (10/31):  “Adherences for the pro-Israel demonstration scheduled for next Thursday in front of the Iranian embassy in Rome are growing.  The initiative, promoted by the managing editor of Il Foglio, Giuliano Ferrara, is a clear response of condemnation to what Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said about ‘it being time to wipe Israel off the map.’ This statement was strongly an unprecedented number of political forces, across party-lines, both from the center-right and center-left.”


"Ahmadinejad Tries to Minimize His Remarks"


Delphine Minoui expressed the view in right-of-center Le Figaro (10/31):  “The Iranian President’s declarations calling for ‘Israel to be wiped off the map’ are more a sign of his inadequacy than a real threat to Israel....  While the destruction of Israel has been part of Iran’s dogma since 1979, this is the first time in years that a high official uses such language.  Hence the shockwave worldwide. But observers note that the Iranian President’s remarks need to be put in context.  Ahmadinejad lacks diplomatic savvy and international experience.  He has never traveled to Europe and recently discovered the U.S. for the first time.” 


"Europe’s Worries And The Nuclear Nightmare" 


Franco Venturini commented in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (10/28):  "The Europeans expressed their anger, as did everyone else. But they suffered a little more than the others.  Wasn’t it the European Union that adopted the 'critical dialogue' towards Kathami’s Tehran that the United States considered too conciliatory at the time?...  It is a fact that the Europeans yesterday did not announce a break of nuclear negotiations with Tehran, seeking refuge in the formula of the upcoming consultations among allies: nobody wants Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israeli outburst to have the effect of paving the way to Iran’s nuclear acquisition as certainly Tehran ‘hawks’ desire.  But the Iranian President has underestimated the embarrassment that his statement has produced in friendly Russia.  He has underestimated the new arguments and the new determination that may develop in America.  He has underestimated the anger of the Europeans.  In other words, by upping the ante too far, he has underestimated what the state of Israel represents."


"Who Fears Baghdad’s Vote"


Fiamma Nirenstein opined in centrist, influential La Stampa (10/28):  "Ahmadinejad must be taken very seriously not only for his threats against Israel: what he a strategic summary that shows us the dangers that the great democratic revolution in the Middle East is facing.  Ahmadinejad did not speak only out of hatred for Israel, but to describe the counter-revolutionary process that is under way.  We cannot say that the democratic revolution in the Middle East is a forced one, that is was imported with the war and that it will die along with it....  More likely, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s words are tailored to galvanize old and new recruits.  Syria, which is currently in trouble, furnishes shelter to those who send orders from Damascus:  the regime would not benefit from an agreement between Palestinians and Israelis.  Abu Mazen lamented that refugees in Lebanon receive weapons from Syria.  Iraqis seeking democracy are confronting the same foreign interference that Abbas is facing in Palestine: the flow of men and money from the Syrian border and the Iranian presence slows down the democratization process with the attacks.  The Sunnis...have proven with their participation in the vote for the Constitution that they can live with the new historical process.  Lebanon suffers still:  the Hizbullah...are doubly bound to Syria and to Iran.  Now this dominion is beginning to show signs of fraying under the UN investigation, the right road to confront the issue of all exported violence."


RUSSIA:  "Between Civilization And Barbarity"


Reformist Izvestiya editorialized (10/31): “Russia has again found itself in an awkward situation because of economic cooperation with Iran.  Under the new circumstances, restrained-to-negative assessments of Ahmadinejad’s man-hating statement from the Russian Foreign and Defense Ministers can hardly settle the matter.   It looks more serious now and has to do with Russia’s choice, not with the peculiarities of its policy toward questionable regimes, a policy it inherited from the Soviet Union.   A sober approach suggests that Russia will hardly give up economic cooperation with Iran....  But top foreign policy officials must know that Ahmadinejad will not take his words back and Iranian policy will keep growing more radical.  So, Russia will have to look for new answers to new challenges, finally obliged to choose between civilization and barbarity.”


"Iran Headed For A Conflict With The Rest Of The World"


Georgiy Mirskiy of the World Economy and International Relations Institute said in official government-run Rossiyskaya Gazeta (10/31):  “As many speak of the lack of experience of the Iranian President, trying to explain his latest statements addressed to the United States and Israel, they should realize that Number One in Iran is the leader of the revolution, Khomenei.   Had it not been for his support, the President would not have dared say what he said about Israel.  Aggravation with the West is good for Iran: imposing sanctions on Iran will play into the hands of the regime not particularly liked by the people of that country.  Boosting patriotism and anti-West sentiment among Iranians may help rally the nation and make the regime more credible.   Also, Tehran hopes Russia and China will veto a decision on sanctions.  More than that, many Western countries buy oil and have other interests, including profitable projects, in Iran.  The UN will never expel Iran.  Israel is aware of that, its demand that Iran be drummed out of the corps being a reaction to Tehran’s statements.”


"To Wipe Off The Map Of The World"


Andrei Zlobin and Yelena Suponina analyzed in the reformist Vremya Novostei (10/28):  "One way or another, his statements calling for the obliteration of a whole state appeared to be unacceptably challenging. The desire to raise public hatred toward Israel turned out to be a foreign policy failure for Ahmadinejad and an unexpected victory for Tehran's foes.  "Several years ago America included Iran in the 'axis of evil', trying to portray it as a global pariah. The situation surrounding Iran's nuclear program is quite delicate. Tehran claims it is of a purely peaceful nature.  But the West does not believe that and says that Iran is seeking to obtain nuclear weapons. The scale has been tipped not in favor of Tehran: at the end of September the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) passed a resolution allowing the 'Iranian nuclear file' to be handed over to the UN Security Council, with a possible introduction of economic sanctions against Iran.  Russia has opposed this scenario, trying to resolve the conflict by diplomatic methods...  Media reports about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial statement came as an unpleasant surprise to Sergei Lavrov, who had talks with the Israeli leadership in Tel Aviv yesterday:"


"Iranian President Put The Country Under Fire"


Ivan Groshkov and Andrei Terekhov observed in reformist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (10/28):  "Ahmadinejad did a big disservice to the Russian foreign minister.  Indeed, it's hard to imagine a worse time for provoking the wrath of the international community.  Lavrov visited the Middle East in the last two days and had hard talks with the Israeli leadership, trying to persuade it that the non-proliferation regime can be enforced with regard to Iran without imposing sanctions on this country.  Yesterday Russia helped Iran in its desire to become a No. 1 country in the Islamic world with its own orbiting space assets. A light Kosmos-3M carrier with Simah- --the first Iranian satellite for distant Earth probing, and basically a reconnaissance satellite--aboard blasted off from launching pad No. 132 in Plesetsk."


"Iran Is No Longer Russia's Satellite"


Ivan Safronov and Mikhail Zygar say in the reformist business-oriented Kommersant (10/28):  "Until recently Moscow was the main defender of Iran's interests and opposed efforts to pass the issue of Iran's nuclear program to the UN Security Council. However, Russia has no choice in the current situation.  Moscow had to move against Tehran in order not to be perceived as an ally of the Iranian leadership.  'Possible sanctions against Russian companies for cooperation with Iran posed an even greater risk for Moscow. While developing a contract for an Iranian satellite, Moscow had to find ways to protect Omsk's Polyot from American sanctions: the $1.6 million contract for the launch of Sinah-1 was signed by Iran's Institute for Applied Research and Russia's state-owned company Rosoboronexport, which is the sole Russian arms trade intermediary."


AUSTRIA:  "Announcement Of Genocide"


Senior editor for independent Der Standard Hans Rauscher remarked (10/31):  "An Islamic anti-Semite fanatic who, admittedly, does not (yet?) command total power in the Iranian mullah regime, but is striving for it; who wants to complete Iran's nuclear program at all cost-that is what we face at a time when the West is paralyzed--paralyzed especially by the Bush administration that has reached a state of self-induced paralysis....  George W. Bush has lost the support of the majority of Americans because of one fiasco after another (Iraq, Hurricane Katrina) became evident. However, he and his circle never really had a clue how to thwart the Iranians' nuclear ambitions.  Now, total helplessness and perplexity are looming....  Ill-considered military actions are out of the question for several reasons. However, Ahmadinejad must still be taken seriously--just in case.  History tells of other charismatic fanatics who that openly announced their schemes for mass murder and then implemented them once their power was great enough."


"Retro In Iran"


Foreign affairs editor for independent Der Standard Gudrun Harrer remarked (10/28):  "Political regression is in full bloom in Iran.  Everything Iran had managed to leave behind, slowly and with much effort, after Khomeini's death is suddenly back--including destruction fantasies directed against Israel....  Iran, whose President just spoke of the destruction of Israel, is not some obscure country somewhere on the global margins:  It is a rising regional power with large political, economic and cultural ambitions that sees itself as Israel's challenger in a competition for regional hegemony--a country that wants to be taken seriously.  However, its ascent will be slowed if Ahmadinejad maneuvers his country into isolation. Take the nuclear program:  Iran demanded that its rights--the same enjoyed by all members of the international community--not be curtailed--and that was a point worthy of discussion.  However, if now the President of one country threatens another country with annihilation, he automatically brings his own country's rights into question. Those are the rules--and they are valid for everyone."


"Where Hatred Of Jews Is The Order Of The Day"


Foreign affairs editor for centrist daily Die Presse Christian Ultsch wrote (10/28):  "Ahmadinejad's attack against Israel has its good points. The fact that one head of state has no qualms about declaring Israel's annihilation is so unheard of that even the EU representatives have no choice but to react accordingly--at least rhetorically, by having the Iranian ambassadors called in by the various European foreign ministers.  However, it must be feared that these symbolic acts are all that will be done. The éclat should heighten sensitivity to the anti-Semitic refuse that is circulating in the Islamic world.....  As far as Iran is concerned, Europe's statesmen should really consider whether a tougher stance would be called for.  The appeasement policy that many (especially businesspeople) favored during the era of the smiling model mullah Khatami has failed.  Successor Ahmadinejad, with his unabashed confrontation course, makes matters perfectly clear:  He represses Iran's population more than ever, he threatens Israel, he refuses to give up his nuclear program and he (or his intelligence service) finances terror groups. What is the EU waiting for before it takes off its kid gloves?  For Ahmadinejad to turn into an enlightened liberal?"


BELGIUM:   "Iran Deserves To Be Isolated"


Chief commentator Luc Van der Kelen editorialized in conservative Het Laatste Nieuws (10/28):  “Iran is on a war path.  Today, with words, but tomorrow?  With nuclear bombs on Israel?  The country is ruled by a follower of the first hour of ayatollah Khomeini: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Reportedly, he was one of the hostage takers of the U.S. Embassy personnel.  He is catapulting Iran back to the dark ages of fundamentalism-- away from the modest openings to the West.  Ahmadinejad wants to wipe Israel off the map….and continue where Hitler was stopped....  This man is more dangerous than Saddam Hussein ever was....  Both the free world and the rest of the Muslim world cannot accept this.  One cannot do business with a regime that has not shown any respect for human rights for more than a quarter of a century and that announces publicly that it wants to wipe a country off the surface of the earth with fire and sword.  Even less can this country be allowed to start a nuclear program--not even the slightest form of nuclear energy.  It does not matter who ever lived in Palestine.  We have to worry about the people of today--not those who lived there 500 or 2,000 years ago.  The world community gave Israel its right to exist.  It is a legitimate right that must be defended and protected by that world community.  Those who clearly violate those rules and persevere do not belong to that club.  They deserve to be isolated and sanctioned.  There is no other choice.”


"Iran Punishes Itself By Aggressing Israel"


Baudouin Loos commented in left-of-center Le Soir (10/27):  "If 'shooting oneself in the foot' is an art, some of the best artists are Iranian. The new President of Iran’s Islamic Republic has just made a clear demonstration of this....  His call for Israel to be destructed reminds us of a period--not such a long time ago--when the fiercest enemies of Israel, both Arab and Iranian, were competing with one another with terrifying anti-Semitic statements.  One thought that this period was over.  It does not mean that Israel does not deserve some criticism.  By flouting international law and human rights with its colonization and oppression, Israel is being criticized in various coteries of the international community.  But who would conclude that Israel does not have the right to exist?  With such calls for hatred, which boil down to an unacceptable approval of terrorism, the Iranian President is triggering the unanimous opprobrium that he deserves.  Actually, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has just reinforced Israeli hardliners, those who point out the threats on Israel’s security to justify preventive strikes.  But in a few words, the Iranian President has also ruined any hope to see the international community consider his country with benevolence.  At the moment when Iran’s nuclear program is being negotiated--at the world’s greatest concern--Ahmadinejad has simply given the most embarrassing image of his country, i.e. that of a pariah country."


CROATIA:  "Who Will Wipe Out Whom?"


Zagreb-based government-owned Vjesnik carried a commentary by Bruno Lopandic (10/31):  "The U.S. has in the meantime reached a pragmatic agreement with Libya and Mu'ammar Qadhafi, who, until yesterday, was perceived as the personification of evil, and countries which had any kind of relations with Tripoli were under constant American threat of sanctions.  Should Iraq become a pluralistic country that wants to build and strengthen democracy, it will be extremely difficult for despotic regimes in the region to maintain the status quo which the Middle East has literally cast out of the post-Cold War trends of reforms and liberalism.  Despite insufficient and simplified explanations that everything that happens in that part of the world is linked exclusively to oil, it is about democracy.  Maybe that's the trick.  Only closed conditions and constant threats from outside maintain despotic regimes alive.  The Israeli reaction which, among other things, requested that Iran be thrown out of the U.N., was the sharpest among sharp reactions from all sides.  However, that's not the worst thing that could happen to Iran."


"'Wipe Out' And 'Throw Out'"


Kresimir Fijacko commented in Zagreb-based Government-owned Vjesnik (10/28):  "It would, of course, be too much to expect at least a small amount of reason and tolerance in the part of the world where the Third World War is maybe already taking place, with us calling us [Croatia] something else.  However, radicalism such as the Iranian one, is giving right to those who believe that Iran, located 'in the middle' of a large power's interest sphere, should have already been next in line for a solid military intervention, if only the one in Iraq had not become so entangled.  After such threats, not just to Israel but to the order of things in the Middle East, Iran has additionally qualified itself as the future victim.  Some of its neighbors have already paid for much lesser sins, or even for those which have proven to be invented."


CZECH REPUBLIC:  "Iranian Cartographer"


Martin Novak observed in the business Hospodarske noviny (10/31):  “In the past, statesmen's appeals to change maps or border lines never augured anything good.  They were usually followed by fear, wars, exodus and ethnic cleansing.  Unhappily, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad played at being a cartographer last week saying that Israel should be erased form the world map.  Everybody has the right to criticize Israel....  However, the critique of another country policy has its limits.  Beyond that, there is anti-Semitism and racism, an attempt to deny Israeli the right to exist, an indirect appeal for genocide.  Let anybody think about Israeli policy what they want, appeals to destroy are unacceptable.  If such a statement is pronounced by the head of the U.N. member country, the world should not be passive....  The vision of a rough confrontation between nuclear Israel and possibly in a few years also nuclear Iran is really horrifying.  Of course, everything is rhetoric at the moment.  However, wars in the Middle East break out suddenly and unexpectedly.  This one would not be the first.”


"Time For Action"


Radek Nedved noted in the center-right daily Lidove noviny (10/27):  " Yesterday’s call by the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel to be wiped off the map has sparked a response from Israel requesting the UN Security Council to act.  The Israelis, surviving in the ocean of Muslim states, oftentimes respond to threats from the Islamic world with greater anxiety than need be.  Not this time.  In a situation when we cannot be sure that Teheran isn’t trying to develop a nuclear bomb, which could be used against the Jewish state, Ahmadinejad overstepped “the red line”.  Through his comments about “the historical war” between the West and Islam, Ahmadinejad virtually killed the negotiations with the European trio (Germany, France and Britain), the countries that had the greatest will to come to an agreement with the Iranians.  The time of “dialogue between civilizations”, which was supported by Ahmadinejad’s predecessor, has come to a definite end.  Ahmadinejad’s speech should not go unnoticed by the UNSC.  What other threat does it need to move them to action?!"


DENMARK:  "World Must Realize That Iran Is A threat"


Center-right Jyllands-Posten commented (10/28):  "The U.S. can claim that is was right all along to view Iran with suspicion following yesterday's remarks.  Even the E.U., that for years has clung to the notion of 'constructive dialogue' will have to admit that this is not working.  All peace-loving people must concede that the Iranian President's comments illustrate that Iran is still a totalitarian regime."


FINLAND:  "Unsuitable Statement From A Head of State"


Finland’s leading, independent Helsingin Sanomat editorialized (10/29):  “The statement by the country’s new President [Mahmud Ahmadinejad] that Israel should be ‘wiped off the map’ is completely unsuitable for a responsible head-of-state.  It is not only a denial of recognition in principle, but an open threat of violence.  The outrageous nature of the statement is not at all alleviated by the fact that Iran lacks any chances of carrying out the threat.  The international condemnation of Ahmadinejad’s statement is fully justified. The statement was short-sighted.  Iran is being suspected of violating the non-proliferation treaty and the attempt to acquire the capacity to produce nuclear arms.  Over the recent past, it has been driven deeper into international isolation.  The United States would like to take the case of Iran to the UN Security Council, where sanctions could be imposed on it. The religious leaders exerting the supreme power in Tehran did not hesitate to interfere with the liberal President Khatami’s operations, when they decided that he was diverging from the approved course.  It will be interesting to see what they intend to resort to in the case of Ahmadinejad, who has proved himself a wretched diplomat.  Over the past, there have indications that the new President has been excessively fanatic even in the opinion of the supreme religious leader Ali Khamenei.”


IRELAND:  "Iranian Leader Says Israel Should Be 'Wiped Off The Face Of The Earth'"


Ewen MacAskill in London and Chris McGreal in Jerusalem wrote in the center-left Irish Times (10/27):  “Iran's new president caused outrage in the West yesterday by describing Israel as a 'disgraceful blot' that should be 'wiped off the face of the earth.'  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is more hardline than his predecessor, told students in Tehran that a new wave of Palestinian attacks would be enough to finish off Israel... His speech was immediately condemned by the U.S., Britain, France, Germany and Israel. The British foreign office could not recall a similar statement from a senior Iranian leader since the former president Hashemi Rafsanjani five years ago called for a Muslim state to annihilate Israel with a nuclear strike.  Since then, there has been a mild thaw in relations between Muslim states, including Arab ones, and Israel.”


ROMANIA:  "Middle East--Dominated By Hatred"


Simona Haiduc commented in the financial daily Curentul (10/28):  “It’s like turning back time to the moment when the confrontation about Israel’s right to exist represented one of the fundamental ideological questions of the Islamic republic, its reason to live....  It was the first time that such statements had been made from the podium of an official event, and this got everybody mad: boundaries beyond which everything becomes possible and beyond which the minefield of unpleasant memories laid were broken.  It seems that the problem of the Middle East is that most participants in various normalization processes of the bilateral relationships waste valuable time and patience in solving conflicts that already belong in the past, instead of uniting their efforts in a common effort to eliminate evil....  Pandorra’s box has been opened and there are only two alternatives: either reconciliation or an aggravation of the tensions that might lead to open conflict.”


SERBIA:  "Call For Lynch" 


Bosko Jaksic commented in the Serbian-language Belgrade Politika (Internet version, 10/28):  "Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has gone back to his vitriolic rhetoric from the days of the birth of the Islamic Republic in adding fuel to the Mid-East hotspot.  The statement that Israel should be 'wiped off the map of the world' and the threat that the Palestinian attacks will destroy the Jewish state are an open return to the language of hatred, a genocidal call for a lynch that the leadership that was in power in Tehran until recently had avoided.  Only a photo-finish could tell whom Ahmadinejad was threatening more--the Iranians, who would like to get rid of the external pressures and stabilize the country; the Palestinians, who would like to revive the deadlocked peace process and at last get their own state; or the whole region, the politically most seismic part of the world?...  It is not unusual therefore that Ahmadinejad's statement was immediately linked to the Palestinian suicide bomber attack in the Israeli town of Hadera.  The responsibility for the attack has been claimed by the Islamic Jihad, one of the Palestinian groupings that Israel claims has headquarters in Damascus and gets financial aid from Iran. For the time being it has not been proved that Tehran is behind Hadera with Ahmadinejad's threat that whoever recognizes Israel 'will burn on the fire of Islamic wrath.'  There is no denying that he is calling on the specters of global political and religious hatred, the specters of anti-Semitism, that he is recruiting the hate-imbued perpetrators of terrorist attacks, and undermining every Israeli-Palestinian dialogue following Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip....  At such a time Ahmadinejad is trying to provoke the Palestinian groupings that continue to dream about the destruction of Israel and the 'rejection of cancer by the healthy Arab tissue' by relying on his rhetoric.  It is why the Iranian president's statement is far more destructive than the bomb of the Palestinian suicide-bomber in Hadera.


SPAIN:  "Iranian Atrocity"


Left-of-center El País wrote (10/28): "The international community cannot accept as brutal but irrelevant chatter the words of the Iranian president...Especially when...worldwide concern is growing over the fear that Tehran's nuclear program is considering making atomic weapons, and Washington is pressing for the matter is be taken to the UN Security Council, the comments must be considered even more sinister... Egypt and Jordan, who have relations with Israel and with the Palestinian Authority that claims to be negotiating peace with the Zionist state, should know that at, the minimum, this is the moment in which silence is equivalent to a guilty assent."


"The Iranian Threat"


Conservative ABC wrote (10/28):  "The drift towards the stupid remark that the Iranian President has been showing has been growing to the point that it’s on the brink of turning into a real danger for the entire international community.  This is because (Iran's) intentions are as worrying as its methods after the country buried itself away in a nuclear program that has scared half the planet.  The UN, and especially the Security Council, must show themselves inflexible so that such a visionary, who wants to provoke Israel, returns to the way of common sense before a conflict of indeterminate proportions can be unleashed."


TURKEY:  "New Signs Of Danger"


Sami Kohen wrote in the mass appeal Milliyet (11/1):  "The recent remarks of the Iranian president provide some insight into the Iranian stance on certain issues.  Ahmedinejad’s harsh remarks against Israel and his insistence on maintaining Iran’s nuclear program indicate that Tehran plans to increase its regional influence and is ready to stand against international pressure to protect its nuclear program.  … In fact, nobody believes that Iran is going to declare war against Israel.  But the Tehran regime has the intention of weakening Israel by increasing support for organizations such as Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, and others.  Iran’s position on this sensitive issue and the pressure from the international community mean that tension in the region and the potential for conflict will remain high.  Iran seems to be a candidate for being the ‘axis of danger’ in 2006."


"Iran’s Satellite"


Fikret Ertan commented in the Islamist-intellectual  Zaman (11/1):  “Iran is exerting extraordinary efforts to develop its space program while continuing to improve its conventional military power.  The latest example of these efforts is the first civilian Iranian satellite that was launched into space in coordination with Russia.  This satellite has already caused a major disturbance among many countries, especially Israel.  As a matter of fact, it has been reported that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during his visit to Israel on the same day the Iranian SINA-1 satellite was launched, had to face Israeli deputy Prime Minister Simon Perez’s questions on this issue.  Of course, the main worry for other countries is whether Iran will continue with military satellites after launching civilian ones.  If it does, we need to look at what the characteristics of such  satellites would be, such as their range and capacity.”




ISRAEL:  "Hellfire Versus Interests"


Senior Middle East affairs analyst Zvi Bar'el wrote in independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz (10/ 30): "With so many states capable of applying pressure on Iran, why can Ahmadinejad continue to mouth off?  In other words, why doesn't Iran fear sanctions?....  The answer is: the countries capable of exerting pressure are also concerned about harming their economic relations with Iran.  Russia earned about USD 1 billion from its nuclear reactor project in Bushehr; China needs Iranian oil very much; Japan is dependent on Iran; businessmen from Germany, France, Italy and Spain are profiting handsomely from the sanctions the United States imposed on Iran; and now the Americans fear Iran's political takeover of Iraq--all of these factors explain why everyone tiptoes around the Iranian leadership.  And when this is the feeble balance of fear, Ahmadinejad can continue to invoke the fires of hell."


"Beyond Condemnation"


Conservative, independent Jerusalem Post editorialized (10/30):  "It is not every day that all 15 members of the United Nations Security Council rally to Israel's defense. The wider context of the unanimous vote on Friday condemning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calls to 'wipe Israel off the map,' however, must be concern that condemnations, in this case, are not enough....  Iran is the quintessential rogue state.  As amply evident from Ahmadinejad's rhetoric, his country has motive for malevolence, and will soon have the means and the opportunity to create even more devastation, depending only on its own caprice....  Israel should be pointing out the obvious: that Iran's genocidal call against Israel is not just one country's problem.  Iran's support for terrorism, its nuclear ambitions, and its threats against Israel are not isolated concerns.  They must be addressed as a package by the community of nations as a whole.  This means moving beyond condemnations to doing what the UN charter was designed to do: protect international peace and security by imposing stiff multilateral sanctions against international aggressors.  The charter, which the Iranian regime has the gall to wrap itself in, was written to be used in precisely such instances.  We hope, not just for our own sake but for the world's, that Iran's contempt for that charter and the nations meant to implement it are misplaced."


JORDAN:  "Wake Up Sleepy One!"


Former Minister of Information Saleh Qallab writes in the semi-official, influential Arabic Al-Rai (10/30):  "When the young bearded Mohammad Ahmadinejad, who came to be the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran from the trenches of the revolutionary guard militias, launches the call for Israel's removal from existence, as Saddam Hussein had done before, it is in reality a call for all the wolves of this earth to come to eat at the banquet of this region at the expense of the poor people who are saturated with banquets of clumsy slogans and ideologies and sickening prospectus....  Whoever commits grave mistakes under egotistical pressures and pushes his country and people towards the abyss must bear the consequences.  The Arab Nation has nothing to do with such flamboyant actions and stances nor with wrong decisions committed by some in circumstances of over zealousness, blind estimation and over-confidence.  The region is at the threshold of devastating quakes and what is going on today are mere indication of that".


"Yes to Ahmadinejad"


Daily columnist Bassem Sakijha wrote in the center-left, influential Arabic Al-Dustour (10/30):  "The world goes up in arms when Ahmadinejad talks about wiping Israel off the map, but remains quiet when Israel removes Palestine not just from the map but from the conscience of the world....  The young Iranian President said what billions of people on this earth could not say: Israel is a fabricated entity and will continue to be so no matter how treaties countries sign with it.  There is no place for Israel in a land that does not belong to it, and if and when it succeeds in imposing its opinion on the world today, it will not be able to do so forever.  The destiny of this fabricated and imposed entity is doomed to disappear.  Ahmadinejad did not talk about the Jews and I don't think he meant them at all, because these are human beings who deserve to find their place on this earth, and maybe even in Palestine, but not in Israel...which is a name that represents the arrogance of power and devilish frivolity.  Is this hateful time going to allow us to declare our stand vis-à-vis what an elected Muslim head of state said so we can shout our yes."


"The Iranian Attack In The Region"


Columnist Khairallah Khairallah writes on the op-ed page of the independent, centrist Arabic Al-Ghad (10/30):  "What makes Iran capable of adopting this attack policy, by which it wants all to understand that it is the first and foremost regional power in the Middle East and that it has extensive influence in the region, be that in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine or even the Gulf?  The simple answer to this complicated question is that Iran is able to do that in view of the huge victory that the United States provided for it in Iraq.  The volume of this victory is so huge that the Iranian regime is able to cast aside all European and American stances and to continue its nuclear program.  This is all possible so long as the thousands of American and British troops in Iraq remain hostages in Iran's grip.  One cannot event talk         about Israel being really upset about the Iranian policy.  The proof of that is that the Khudeira operation was as good as a gift for Ariel Sharon, who no longer feels the need to make any initiatives or take any steps towards meeting his serious and real opponent, the Palestinian National Authority, halfway....  It is Iran's right to choose the policy that best suits its purposes and to seek to have influence in all directions...but for anyone to try and convince us that what Iran does is in opposition to Israeli interests is something to which the only response is this: any policy of a sectarian nature in the Middle East is always welcomed by Israel."


"Ahmadinejad's Gift To Bashar Assad"


Columnist Yasser Abu Hilaleh wrote on the op-ed page of Al-Ghad (10/30):  "It is difficult to view the remarks made by the Iranian President as being an unintentional mistake stemming from a sudden bout of enthusiasm.  Most likely, the President's remarks calling for wiping Israel off the map are part of a strategy designed to confront the western pressures on Iran by escalating the situation.  It is a strategy that is parallel to that adopted by the Syrian President (Iran's only ally in the region) ever since the arrival of the Americans in Iraq.  The proponents of escalation in Iran and Syria believe that the concessions made during the Khatami era and the early days of Bashar Assad did not remove the two countries from the list of countries that support terrorism.  The Iraqi lesson only confirmed that the Americans are serious about extracting what is left of the rogue regimes....  Ahmadinejad and Bashar Assad may not fully realize the weaknesses of their own regimes, but it is easy for them to know the weaknesses of the United States in the region.  The United States is involved in Iraq and is looking for a way out, and the Republicans are going through the worst time for domestic and foreign reasons.  The United States might be able to bring down the two regimes in record time....  What is most serious about the Iran-Syria issue is that the Israelis are going to be a stone throw away from the Syrian artillery, and Hizbullah will not hesitate to execute higher orders, and, as for Iraq, Iran's allies will be right there.  The United States knows the weaknesses of the two regimes, but it also knows that their collapse will not expand the influence of al-Qaida."


UAE:  "Winning Friends Iran Style"


The English-language, expatriate-oriented Khaleej Times editorialized (Internet version, 11/1):  "Iran has complained that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial remarks on Israel last week are being used by the West to corner it on its nuclear program.  Iran may have a point.  Ahmadinejad's patently tactless comments are being cited in the world media to justify the Western concerns over Tehran's nuclear program.  From Britain's Tony Blair to France's Jacques Chirac, every Western leader worth his salt has been quick to condemn Ahmadinejad's views.  The Western media have been equally outraged by the Iranian leader's call to wipe off Israel.  But is all this reaction any surprising?  And having stirred the hornet's nest, perhaps deliberately, does Tehran have any reason to complain now?  This was only to be expected.  Whether or not Iran has the capability to 'wipe off' Israel, it surely has developed an uncanny knack of winning friends and influencing people.  You would hardly expect a country that is already so isolated to woo trouble in this suicidal fashion.  Why must Iran provide its many detractors and enemies with a new stick to beat it with from time to time?  Besides, this jingoistic rhetoric doesn't help the Palestinian cause either.  Instead of wasting their time and resources on such pointless pursuits, shouldn't Iran's leaders be paying more attention to the formidable economic challenges at home?" 




AUSTRALIA:  "What The Iranian President's Rant Was Really About"  


Sydney University lecturer Leanne Piggott asserted in the national conservative Australian (11/01): "The media has focused on his anti-Israel outburst, but his speech was about the wider battle with the West....  In Ahmadinejad's rhetoric--denouncing the West for imposing a disgrace on the Islamic world and calling for a global wave of revenge--we can hear not only the contemporary hate-ideology of al-Qa'ida but also a more ominous echo of Adolf Hitler's rantings against the Jews and the Treaty of Versailles in the 1930s. The large rallies across Iran last week that were imbued with holy hatred are no less portentous than those that were held in Nuremberg during the Nazi era.  The gravity of the threat is precisely the sort of matter that should be determined by the UN Security Council under article 39 of the charter....  Why has Ahmadinejad chosen this time to hark back to the ferocious slogans of the 1979 Islamic revolution and to call for the obliteration of Israel as the Islamic world's first priority in its wider battle with the West?  One answer may be that he and his hardline supporters are sending a signal that the Iranian regime has no intention of being deterred from its goal of acquiring nuclear weapons.  An Iranian Shi'ite bomb to match the Sunni bomb of US-aligned Pakistan may well be Ahmadinejad's contribution to Iran's pursuit for regional hegemony.  This is not business as usual in the Middle East. Far from it. "


CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "World Rightly Sickened By Iranian Leader's Remarks"


The independent English-language South China Morning Post editorialized (10/28):  "A wave of international condemnation has rightly greeted the call by Iran's president for Israel to be wiped off the map....  Such behavior from a head of state falls well short of accepted standards of conduct among civilized nations.  Iran may find it takes some time to restore warmth to its relations with some countries, already strained by its controversial nuclear program....  It is also a reminder of Iran's inclusion among the countries in President George W. Bush's axis of evil.  This was not helpful to peaceful resolution of disputes by negotiation.  Ironically, Mr. Bush now appears politically weakened by problems of his own.  These include the punishing war in Iraq and the domestic fallout from the failure of his administration's response to the hurricane disaster in New Orleans.  As a result, there are now hopes the U.S. may be more willing to cooperate with other nations to solve international issues and give diplomacy a chance.  Indeed, the hawkish U.S. ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, has agreed that a multilateral approach, through the UN Security Council, to preventing Tehran building a nuclear arsenal is the right way forward.  That is good news.  But the provocative comments by Iran's president this week underline how hard it is going to be to find a solution."


THAILAND:  "Unacceptable Words From Iran"


The lead editorial in the top-circulation, moderately conservative, English-language Bangkok Post read (10/31):  “It is difficult to say which is worse about Iran right now. The disturbing and unacceptable statement by new populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel should be 'wiped off the map' deserves strong rejection and condemnation from every civilized country and leader.  At the same time, however, Tehran, under its new regime, seems determined to isolate itself....  The Thai Foreign Ministry has the duty to talk to, or even to summon the Iranian ambassador to this country and determine from him just what this new Tehran policy means.  Thailand is a nation with long and rather friendly relations with Israel, even as it supports a homeland for the Palestinians with peace in the entire Middle East.  Does the Iranian president consider that Thailand is somehow an enemy to Muslims?...  In a way, however, Mr. Ahmadinejad has done everyone a favor by making his government's policies so stark and shocking....  President Ahmadinejad should retract his statement, admit he made a terrible error of judgment and pledge to cooperate with the world community of nations.”




INDIA:  "Iran Sullies Its Image"


The nationalist Hindustan Times editorialized (10/31):   "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's call for Israel to be 'wiped off the map' has, not surprisingly, elicited a strong reaction from the international community, with even the UN Security Council condemning it.  Observers are appalled at a head of State making such irresponsible remarks about another UN member-State, even if it's no secret that relations between Israel and Iran are anything but cordial....  At a time when most Arab countries are agreed that a two-State solution is in the best interests of the Palestinians, Ahmadinejad's remarks are blatantly communal and downright anachronistic.  Confrontation seems to be the chosen style of the new Iranian president.  In his speech to the UN General Assembly in September, he adopted a belligerent tone in defense of Iran's clandestine nuclear activities, rather than take the opportunity to decrease Iran's isolation on the world stage.  This validates the fears that his hard line conservative victory in the recent presidential polls may make it less likely that Iran would be willing to adopt the path of negotiation to resolve the dispute between the IAEA and the EU over its nuclear program. "


"For Delhi, Not Tehran"


K. Shankar Bajpai analyzed in the nationalist Hindustan Times (10/31):  "With endless problems deserving priority, the Leftist controllers of our destinies initiate a campaign that essentially supports Iran's right to make nuclear bombs. A CPI leader explains that this is to restore our independence in foreign policy by making us 'go with the developing countries.'  Apparently, to follow your own judgment is to abandon independence, to follow the dictates of developing countries is to be independent...  Let's not fool ourselves: Tehran's nuclear deviousness is almost inexplicable except as a (barely) secret determination to develop weapons capability.  Making excuses--that Iran has not been found conclusively guilty, it is only doing what it is entitled to, denying legitimate access forces one to deviousness and so on--wholly ignores the over-riding issue of India's security.  India too is denied legitimate access, but has honorably worked within the painful, unfair consequences, not gone the appalling A.Q. Khan route. The stark reality is: it would be critically damaging to India's security concerns if Iran--or any other power-- acquired nuclear weapons. There was thus a perfectly justified case for us to send the warning we did in Vienna.....  India's problems include several so critical to our future that the entire political spectrum should come together in national consensus: J&K, the North-east, the frightening decline in the state's capacity to do its duties and the consequently imperative need to restore professionalism are only a few that can't be solved without non-partisanship. Our parties are not even going to win or lose elections by what they do on these issues. Yet, they seem totally unable to rise above trying to use even these as sticks with which to beat government.  Many thoughtful analysts genuinely, rightly or wrongly, believe our nuclear deal costs us more than we gain. But the only thread binding the political denunciations of government is anti-Americanism. Let us accept their view:   The fact is that India is no longer part of the developing world.  Yes, we are unforgivably below in many key averages, but we have capabilities and interests that separate us."


"Outburst Of Ahmadinejad"


New Delhi's Awam editorialized (10/30):  “U.S.-Iraq war has branded President Bush as a guilty of sly international policies. Moreover, retreat of American forces and their continuous loss of lives have perturbed the American President most.  Now, Iran’s newly elected President and a hotheaded leader, Ahmadinejad has jolted the very existence of Christianity and Judaism by his statement regarding the wiping out of Israel from the world map.  He was speaking in a conference on 'World without Zionism.'  Various countries and organizations have expressed their deep concern on the aforesaid statement.  Meanwhile, Iran has termed the outcry on the statement of Ahmadinejad as a game plan of American media. However, the controversial statement may pour oil on fire of cold war between Iran and America.  Israel may entice its lord America to take any harsh initiative as a consequence of the statement.  America has already been conspiring against Iran with respect to the latter’s uranium enrichment program.  It has also won over India against Iran.  Now, the tension between American and Iran will reach its nadir (sic) in the wake of such an aggressive statement of Ahmadinejad. The prevailing tension may culminate into the last stage of a decisive action.”


"Audacity Of Ahmadinejad"


The right to center Pratap editorialized  (10/30):  “The entire civilized world has condemned the statement of Iranian President Ahmadinejad to wipe out Israel from the world-map.  It is the talk of the day that such a statement in the present era is a proof of one’s ignorance and mental disbalance. In all probability, a motion may be brought in the United Nations for the expulsion of Iraq from the United Nations.  If such a motion is brought or not is a matter of chance but one thing is sure that the newly elected President of Iran has proved his evil disposition and narrow-mindedness. You may have a dozen complaints against Israel; still such a vulgar language does not suit a great leader and authority like you.  It is astonishing that you have turned your back on the fact that a number of Muslim countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, etc have already recognized Israel as a nation and have established cordial relations with it.  Even the Saudi Arabian government is considering its relations with Israel.  It seems that Mahmood Saheb knows that many a member of United Nations is flabbergasted over his statement. That is why he said that he does not care about what others think of him.  He reiterated his slogan to wipe out Israel from the world map.  When he was told that a number of nations are feeling offended, he said that these countries are free to express their feelings but their views are bereft of any rationality.”


"Adding 'Oil' To The Middle East Fire"


The Mumbai edition of centrist Marathi Sakaal commented (10/28):  “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad apparently doesn’t believe in losing the slightest opportunity to infuriate the U.S.  Earlier this week, he openly called for 'wiping Israel off the map.' This statement was more obviously aimed to throw a challenge to the U.S. than to Israel.  The Islamic would perceives Israel’s ‘Zionist’ regime as a security threat, all the more so since it is politically close to the U.S.  Ahmadinejad therefore wants to unify the Islamic countries against the U.S.  `Death to Israel’ and 'World without Zionism' are suitably inflammatory slogans for the purpose....  Tehran is now close to facing a referral to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions against its nuclear program.  Ahmadinejad’s statements only make matters worse for his country.”


PAKISTAN:  "Worrying Words"


An editorial in the centrist national English-language The News (10/28):  “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's exhortation on Wednesday to wipe Israel 'off the map' is at best unstatesmanlike and lacking in pragmatism. His statement could, in a more critical appraisal, also be termed reckless and possibly dangerous. Even if the firebrand president was merely playing to the gallery on home turf, his needlessly inflammatory remarks could hurt his people and potentially have repercussions beyond the borders of Iran.”


“Address Of Iran’s President Mahmood Ahmadinajad”


An editorial note in Popular Urdu-language Express (10/28):  “Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadinajad while addressing a conference in Tehran has said that Israel must be wiped out from the world....  The excerpts of the Iranian President’s speech illustrates that his remarks are mere emotional rhetoric....  President Bush is exerting pressure on Israel to make sure that an independent Palestinian state comes into being.  The pulling out of settlers from Gaza Strip by Israel is also a significant step forward to achieve this goal.  In this favorable setting, such emotional statements can spoil the entire peace process in the Middle East.”


IRAN:  "World Without Zionism And The Great Satan"


S. Nawabzadeh opined in Tehran Kayhan (Internet version, 11/1):  "President Ahmadinezhad's extremely thoughtful and realistic remarks in preparing the mindset of not just the Iranians but of the Muslim ummah and the rest of the contemporary world for the fast approaching eventuality of the world without Zionism, and of course without the U.S., has hit Global Arrogance where it badly hurts.  He has indeed shattered the shackles that Washington and the West had put on the brains of the Third World politicians and the ordinary people included. He has provided food for thought by busting the make-belief permanency of the illegal entity called Israel and the equally preposterous idea that the U.S. was to stay forever on the world map.....  Today, nuclear-armed Zionism has assumed dangerous proportions and the sooner the surgery to root out this racist and terrorist entity, which is against the very tenets of Judaism as devout Jews such as the Neutra Karta will vouch the better for not just the Middle East but for the whole world as well. The Iranian president has been practical enough to follow up his dynamic remarks with a call on the UN to provide peaceful grounds for this painless surgery as suggested earlier by the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamene'i by arranging a referendum for all real inhabitants of Palestine Muslims, Christians and the original Jews or their descendants including the millions living as refugees in neighboring Arab countries for 57 years....   As for those Muslim states that in violation of the letter and spirit of Islam have committed, or are committing the sacrilege, of establishing ties with the Zionist nonentity, they are advised to read a bit of history. Certainly, in these days of western-imposed despondency upon them, reflecting on the crusader occupation of Bayt al-Maqdis and the end of the 88-year Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem in 1187 when Muslims (Arabs, Kurds, Turks and Persians) closed ranks, will not be a bad idea.  Insha Allah (God Willing), we are on the threshold of the World Without Zionism, and very soon without the evil of the satanic U.S. administration that has made life miserable even for American citizens by putting them under the Zionist yoke and dragging them into unwanted wars."


"People Shoulder Huge Costs"


Reformist Aftab-e-Yazd wrote (Internet version, 11/1):  "Because of many reasons the administrative policies of the current government cannot be outside the framework of the previous governments; therefore, speeches, behaviours and stances that are seriously different from those of the previous governments won't be realized at all at one hand and will inflict huge costs on the people's shoulder on the other hand."


"Reaching For Outlandish Ideals"   


Reformist Sharq published (Internet version, 11/1):  "When we are talking or making decisions as statesmen, actually we are talking about the destiny of millions of the people that the majority of them cannot play any role in our stances or at least they cannot judge over what we are saying. It can be easily understood these days that ruling a country cannot tolerate releasing the strings of words or behaving to reach outlandish ideals... Our society needs calmness and stability more than any thing else...and there is not any idea bigger that making a comfortable country for its 70 million residents."


"Courting The Islamic World And Foiling Israel"


Hard-line pro-Khamenei Kayhan wrote (Internet version, 11/1):  "The psychological warfare against Ahmadinejad's anti-Zionist stances...not only was not beneficial for the designer of this scenario in London, Tel Aviv and Washington, but also it had great achievements for Islam World and all real freedom movements of the World... Even certain attempts by some Arab countries that were moving toward the normalization of their relations with Israel were all foiled."




CHILE:  "Erase Israel From The Map?"


Center-left Diario Siete remarked (10/28):  “Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the new president of Iran, said yesterday that Israel ‘should be erased from the map’.... This is an obscene expression that can lead to the justification of genocide....  Whether for God, country, superior race, or the argument of a chosen people, fundamentalists are an assault against humankind...and any doctrine that tries to validate genocide must be confronted by the international community as whole....  There can be no double standard on this.  Just as humankind condemns the Holocaust, it also condemns the abuses committed by Israel on the people of Palestine....  The fundamentalist mentality is the main obstacle to long-lasting peace in the Middle East, which requires the co-existence of Israel and a Palestinian state....  We must encourage those in the Arab world who distance themselves from the stance of the new government of Iran and those sectors in Israel who want to end the bloodshed.”


COLOMBIA:  "Ahmadinejad: khomeini’s Heritage"


Leading national El Tiempo (10/30):  “In only three months of office the Iranian President has shown increasing orthodox intolerance towards the West.”


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