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Iran's Leaders Called Threat to World

The foreign minister of Israel exhorts the U.N. General Assembly to stand up against Tehran.

September 21, 2006|From the Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — Iranian leaders pose the biggest threat to the world's values because they "speak proudly" of their wish to destroy Israel and pursue weapons to achieve that objective, Israel's foreign minister said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said at the annual United Nations General Assembly session that the international community must stand up against Iran, which she said was pursuing the weapons to destroy Israel, a reference to Tehran's suspect nuclear program.

"There is no greater challenge to our values than that posed by the leaders of Iran," Livni said. "They deny and mock the Holocaust. They speak proudly and openly of their desire to wipe Israel off the map. And now, by their actions, they pursue the weapons to achieve this objective, to imperil the region and to threaten the world."

She said Iran's support of the Islamic militant group Hezbollah in southern Lebanon showed the threat it posed to the region.

"There is no place for such a regime in the family of nations," she said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Israel should be wiped off the map and dismissed the Holocaust as a myth.

In his speech to the General Assembly on Tuesday, Ahmadinejad said Israel was created by driving millions of people from territory that was rightfully theirs.

He also said Israel was a source of insecurity in the Middle East that was "waging war and spilling blood and impeding the progress of regional countries."

Livni struck a more conciliatory tone toward the Palestinians, saying the two did not necessarily have to remain at odds. She said the only way to resolve their conflict was at the negotiating table.

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