The European Union slammed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s reference to Israel as a “cancerous tumor,” calling the description “totally unacceptable,” The Times of Israel reported Monday.
“President Rouhani’s remarks bringing into question Israel’s legitimacy are totally unacceptable,” a spokesperson for the EU said in an official statement. “They are also incompatible with the need to address international disputes through dialogue and international law.”
The statement further said that the EU “reiterates its fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to current and emerging threats in the region.”
Similarly, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted, “I strongly condemn the recent unacceptable statements by President Rouhani relating to Israel. It is absolutely unacceptable when Israel’s right to exist is questioned or Israel’s destruction is being urged.”
“Because of our historical responsibility, the decisive combat against all forms of anti-Semitism and the support for Israel are especially important to us. For Austria, Israel’s security is non-negotiable,” Kurz added.
Rouhani had made the remarks in a speech Saturday addressing the 32nd annual International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran. Throughout the speech, the Iranian president inveighed against the United States and Israel, saying, “We will win against Zionism and the US if we become united.”
In an early section of the speech, Rouhani said, “One of the most important effects of World War II was the formation of a cancerous tumour in the region.”
He then elaborated, “They deployed a power in the region that completely obeys the West in regional matters,” and added, “They formed the fake Israeli regime and killed and displaced the historical nation of Palestine.”
Germany’s Foreign Office also issued a statement rejecting Rouhani’s remarks and condemned them “in the strongest possible terms.” The statement further asserted that “Israel’s right to exist cannot be called into question and is non-negotiable.”
In a statement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that Rouhani “has once again called for Israel’s destruction.” Referring to Rouhani’s references to Israel as a “cancerous tumor,” and a “fake regime,” Pompeo charged that “such statements inflame tensions in the region by seemingly calling for war.”
“At an international conference on Islamic unity, Rouhani also encouraged Muslims worldwide to unite against the United States,” Pompeo continued. “This is a dangerous and irresponsible step that will further deepen Iran’s isolation.”
The secretary also observed that the current Iranian regime “has badly represented” the people of Iran, and that “the people have suffered under this tyranny for far too long.”
The article was published in The Tower