The United States has strongly condemned "vile" racist and anti-Semitic statements made by Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi at an international conference against drug abuse last week.
At the International Day Against Drug Abuse conference in Tehran on June 26, Rahimi reportedly said the Talmud, or canon of Jewish religious law, "teaches them how to destroy non-Jews so as to protect an embryo in the womb of a Jewish mother."
He accused "Zionists", a term used by the Iranian government generalizing Israelis and their Jewish supporters abroad, of inciting drug trafficking. "You cannot find a single addict among the Zionists," he added.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, US State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has confirmed that the conference was not held under UN auspices, nor did officials in attendance have any idea that Rahimi would level such offensive charges. Both UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon and UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov registered their dismay and serious concern over Rahimi's anti-Semitic speech and issued a statement on July 3 calling on Iranian officials to refrain from these kinds of anti-Semitic statements.
The State Department said the United States supports meetings that address the very real crisis of drug abuse and drug trafficking around the world. "We trust that parties interested in combating the scourge of drug abuse and drug trafficking will focus their efforts on legitimate international meetings, and will join us in condemning such attempts to take advantage of them to promote hateful, racist speech," the statement added.
The Iranian comment also evoked condemnation by the European Union.
by RTT Staff Writer
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