UNITED NATIONS – The UN Security Council on Friday condemned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comment that Israel should be "wiped off the map", a move immediately welcomed by the Israeli ambassador.
"The Security Council condemns the remarks about Israel attributed to Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of the Islamic republic of Iran," said a statement read by the president of the council for the month, Romanian ambassador Mihnea Motoc.
Council members expressed strong support for UN chief Kofi Annan’s statement Thursday that "under the United Nations Charter, all members have undertaken to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial or political independence of any state."
Annan Thursday also expressed dismay at Ahmadinejad’s remarks and reminded all member states that Israel is a long-standing United Nations member "with the same rights and obligations as every other member."
Israel’s UN envoy Dan Gillerman expressed his country’s appreciation at the council’s swift action.
"Israel welcomes the condemnation by the Security Council of the outrageous remarks by the president of Iran, remarks which are not only alarming and dangerous but have actually unmasked what extremism, fundamentalism and madness (are) actually part of that world-threatening regime," he said.
"We are very satisfied that after so many national condemnations we have heard a very clear condemnation by the United Nations though the Security Council," Gillerman said. "We feel that Iran in its present state and with the present leadership should take this condemnation very, very seriously."
"We hope that this message will be heard loud and clear in Tehran," the Israeli envoy said.
Ahmadinejad told a conference Wednesday in Tehran entitled "The World without Zionism" that "the establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world."
"Anyone who signs a treaty which recognises the entity of Israel means he has signed the surrender of the Muslim world," he added, warning Muslim leaders who recognise Israel they "face the wrath of their own people."
"As the Imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map," he said, quoting Iran’s late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini