US condemns "reprehensible" Iranian comments on Israel
The United States Monday condemned as "hateful" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's latest remarks about Israel and warned that Iran would "try to manipulate" diplomats who attend the upcoming Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran.
Ahmadinejad said last week that in the new Middle East map, there would be no Israel and called Israel a "cancerous tumour" that one day would cease to exist, dpa reported.
"These remarks are offensive and reprehensible, and the entire international community should condemn such rhetoric," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
The United States and Israel have criticized plans by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to attend the six-day Non-Aligned Movement summit, which opens Sunday. Ban last week condemned Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel remarks as "offensive and inflammatory."
It was not clear if Ban would be attending the meeting. Past meetings of the Non-Aligned Movement have not normally been on his agenda. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi is expected to attend the Tehran summit.
Nuland did not comment on whether she thought Morsi should attend, but warned that Iran would "try to manipulate this non-summit and the attendees to advance its own agenda and to obscure the fact that it is failing to live up to multiple obligations that it has to the UN Security Council, the IAEA and other international bodies."
"We, frankly, don't think that Iran is deserving of these high-level presences," she said.
Nuland said that whoever does attend should use the opportunity to press Iran's leaders to "come back into compliance" on its nuclear programme.