Thursday, October 27, 2005

Iran's President ups the ante

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeated a remark from Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran's Islamic revolution, that Israel should be "wiped out from the map," insisting that a new series of attacks will destroy the Jewish state, and lashing out at Muslim countries and leaders that acknowledge Israel. Israel has diplomatic relations with major Muslim countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, and the Gaza disengagement has improved ties between Israel and some other Muslim nations and leaders. But Ahmadinejad took it further by describing Israel's disengagement from Gaza as a "trick" meant to make "Islamic states acknowledge the Zionist regime of Israel," according to a report on the CNN website. One wonders if Iran is trying to send a non-diplomatic missive to the U.S. in the wake of the increased pressure by the IAEA to open its nuclear facilities for inspection, and old allies deserting it at international fora (yes, us). It’s not adopting a very good strategy, is what I can say. The least it can do now is not exacerbate an already volatile situation.

France meanwhile got into its traditional balancing act. Ahmadinejad's comments prompted the French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy to summon the Iranian ambassador to Paris for an explanation. One thing you have to give these French. They actually see things from the other side’s perspective, sounding ridiculously obsequious along the way. Look what Douste-Blazy has to say to Ahmadinejad’s comments: "For France, the right for Israel to exist should not be contested. This state was created by a decision of the U.N. General Assembly. International law applies to all. The question of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be used as a pretext to put into question the fundamental right for Israel to exist."

He is not only not rebuking Iran for its recklessness but trying to explain his position from a seemingly Iranian perspective. Hats off to these guys!

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