Friday, November 04, 2005

Italy-Iran Tension Grows Over Israel, Nuclear Dossier


Thu, 3 Nov 2005, 04:47


Rome: Italy's Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini urged the international community to deal firmly with Iran over concerns about a covert nuclear weapons programme, as diplomatic relations between Rome and Tehran worsened Wednesday.Fini was speaking after Iran's foreign ministry called in the Italian ambassador to formally protest a planned pro-Israel rally outside its embassy in Rome on Thursday.

"We recognized a convergence of our positions on the need for a firm line on the part of the international community. Iran arming itself with nuclear weapons would pose a problem of international security," Fini said after talks here with Edmund Stoiber, Bavaria's prime minister and leader of Germany's Christian Social Union.

Fini and leaders from across the political divide are to attend the rally, to protest President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent call for Israel to be "wiped off the map." "Our ambassador in Tehran was called in and he had to explain why Italy is angry at Ahmadinejad's call."

During a trip to Israel on Tuesday, Fini said that Iran's suspected push to acquire nuclear weapons should be referred to the UN Security Council.

The Iranian foreign ministry dismissed Fini's comments as "emanating from Israeli propaganda."

Fini, leader of the right-wing National Alliance party, will join leaders of the two biggest opposition parties, Piero Fassino and Francesco Rutelli, as well as Rome's left-wing mayor Walter Veltroni, for the torchlight rally.

The appeal was launched at the weekend by the right-wing daily Il Foglio, whose editor Giuliano Ferrara is a former spokesman for Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi described Ahmadinejad's comments as "completely crazy and unacceptable," in a television interview screened Monday.

Amos Luzzatto, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, said he and members of his organisation would attend Thursday's rally.


Post a Comment

<< Home