April 20, 2009 / 7:19 PM / 8 years ago

FACTBOX: Reactions to Iran president at UN racism meet

GENEVA (Reuters) - Following are some reactions to comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a U.N. conference on racism on Monday.

Ahmadinejad prompted a walkout by some and applause from others when he accused Israel of establishing a "cruel and repressive racist regime" over the Palestinians, and said "Zionism" had penetrated mass media and financial systems to extend its domination over other countries.

OFFICE OF FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY:

"The speech pronounced by Iran's president is ... an intolerable call for racist hatred that flouts the ideals and the values inscribed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"The president ... totally condemns this speech of hatred. He calls for an extremely firm reaction by the European Union."

U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

"I deplore the use of this platform by the Iranian President to accuse, divide and even incite. We must all turn away from such a message in both form and substance."

U.N. HIGH COMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS NAVI PILLAY

"There's no room for political posturing by some states because somebody who traditionally makes obnoxious statements once again does."

ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU

"We will not allow Holocaust deniers to carry out another Holocaust against the Jewish people. That is the supreme obligation of the state of Israel, and that is my supreme obligation as prime minister of Israel."

U.S. DEPUTY AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS ALEJANDRO WOLFF

"I can't think of any other word than shameful."

"It does a grave injustice to the Iranian nation and the Iranian people, and we call on the Iranian leadership to show much more measured, moderate, honest and constructive rhetoric when dealing with issues in the region."

BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY DAVID MILIBAND

"President Ahmadinejad's remarks ... were offensive, inflammatory and utterly unacceptable. That such remarks were made using the platform of the UN's anti-racism conference is all the more reprehensible."

CZECH FOREIGN MINISTRY (HOLDER OF EU PRESIDENCY)

"... We cannot allow, through our presence, the legitimization of absolutely unacceptable anti-Israeli attacks ... The Czech delegation will not return to the conference at all, as a consequence to Ahmadinejad's speech."

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER

"To the extent that the reaction demonstrated vocal opposition to what President Ahmadinejad stands for and has to say, I think that's a very positive thing.

CHIEF VATICAN SPOKESMAN FATHER FEDERICO LOMBARDI

"Naturally, speeches like that of the Iranian president do not go in the right direction, because, even if he did not deny the Holocaust or Israel's right to exist, his expressions were extremist and unacceptable."

EUROPEAN JEWISH CONGRESS PRESIDENT MOSHE KANTOR

"If Hitler himself had addressed this forum, would UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sit as politely as he did for the lies and hatred spewed forth by Ahmadinejad? Shame on him, and shame on anyone who stayed in the room to hear -- or applaud -- his evil rants."

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE LAUREATE/HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR ELIE WIESEL

"Ahmadinejad had been denying the Holocaust and issuing mortal threats to the State of Israel from the beginning."

(Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem, Adrian Croft in London, Jan Lopatka in Prague, Francois Murphy in Paris, David Ljunggren in Ottawa, Louis Charbonneau at the United Nations)

Reporting by Jonathan Lynn; Editing by Charles Dick

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