“Questioning Israel’s right to exist and calling for its destruction is completely unacceptable,” Kurz stated.
By Jack Gold, World Israel News
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he “strongly” condemns Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s “unacceptable” remarks calling Israel a “cancerous tumor.”
“Questioning Israel’s right to exist and calling for its destruction is completely unacceptable,” Kurz stated on Saturday.
“Because of our historic responsibility, the determined fight against all forms of anti-Semitism and support for Israel is particularly important to us. The security of Israel is not negotiable for Austria,” he underscored.
Addressing an annual Islamic Unity Conference earlier in the day, Rouhani said that “one of the ominous results of World War II was the formation of a cancerous tumor in the region.” He also referred to Israel as a “fake regime” set up by Western countries to implement their policies in the Middle East.
Rouhani alleged that the U.S. cultivates close ties with “regional Muslim nations” in order to protect Israel, an apparent reference to Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia and the kingdom’s Sunni Arab allies. He said bowing to American pressure amounts to “treason.”
Rouhani is considered a relative moderate by the West and has been hosted in several European countries.
Speaking during a joint press conference in Vienna in July, Kurz reprimanded Rouhani over Iran’s blatant anti-Semitism, saying that his country “strongly” condemns “all forms of anti-Semitism as well as any form of down-playing or denial of the Holocaust.”
Iran is a global promoter of Holocaust denial and even holds an annual cartoon festival which mocks that cataclysmic event in Jewish history.
Kurz stressed that Israel’s concerns regarding threats from Iran “have to be taken seriously. Austria is unconditionally committed to the security of Israel and its citizens.”
Iran’s annihilationist anti-Semitism
Iran does not recognize Israel and regularly calls for its destruction.
In a rally in Tehran last year, Iran unveiled a digital clock in the city’s Palestine Square counting down the days to what it says will be the destruction of Israel in 2040.
The time frame appears to stem from comments made in 2015 by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who vowed there will be “nothing” left of Israel by the year 2040.
In September 2015, Khamenei proclaimed, “You [Israelis] will not see the coming 25 years and, God willing, there will not be something named the Zionist regime in next 25 years.”
He later tweeted in broken English, “Struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists.”
Most recently, Rouhani threatened Israel and stated that it can never feel safe, while calling for all Palestinians to “return to their homeland.”
“Israel can never feel that it is in a safe place,” Rouhani told reporters in June, as Iranians marked Quds Day by condemning Israel and chanting “death to Israel” and “death to America.”
AP contributed to this report.