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Iran: President's Remarks on Israel Misinterpreted

Iran said on Sunday that the recent remarks on Israel by its president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been misinterpreted by some countries.

"The president's comments on Israel did not include any new contents, but they have been misinterpreted by some countries and organizations," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told reporters at his weekly news briefing.

Ahmadinejad said on Thursday, during a two-day meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) held in the holy city Mecca in Saudi Arabia, that Israel should be moved to the European soil since two European countries, Germany and Austria, were responsible for the slaughter of millions of Jews during World WarII.

His remarks drew immediate condemnation from UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the UN Security Council and countries such as the United States, Israel, Germany and Austria.

Asefi explained that the president's real meaning of the comments was that the Europeans must compensate the Jews at their own price if they felt necessary to do so.

Iran's Supreme Leader Seyed Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that Israel and the United States were sensitive to Ahmadinejad's comments because of their weakness.

"The Zionists and their American allies surprisingly show sensitivity to any remarks on the Zionist regime, which betray their weakness and embarrassment about attention of the Muslim nations to the plight of Palestinians," Khamenei said.

In late October, the hardline president said Israel should be "wiped off the map", inciting bombardments from some countries.

Iran holds a sympathetic attitude towards the fight for independence of the Palestinians and refuses to acknowledge the Israeli state while Israel echoes the US accusation that Iran is building nuclear weapons secretly and sponsoring terrorists.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2005)

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