Britain, EU: Iran drug comments 'racist and antisemitic'

Baroness Ashton

Baroness Ashton

Britain and the European Union have joined Israel in condemning the antisemitic comments made by a senior Iranian politician about drug addiction being a Zionist conspiracy.

Mohammad Reza Rahimi, the Iranian vice-president, claimed there were no Zionist drug addicts, which he said was proof that the Talmud was a tool used for "inciting global drug trade and addiction in a bid to annihilate non-Jewish communities".

In response, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, accused the leadership in Tehran of being "antisemitic fanatics".

Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign policy representative, described the remarks as "racist and antisemitic" and said she was deeply disturbed by them.

"We condemn utterly the baseless comments from Iran's vice-president Rahimi about the Talmud and the Jewish faith, made at a United Nations drugs control event in Tehran this week," said Alistair Burt, Britain's Minister for the Middle East.

"Racism and antisemitism are unacceptable in any circumstance, let alone at an event sponsored by the United Nations.

"We call upon Iran to correct this scandalous statement, and to ensure that its officials respect the proper international norms and standards in the future."

Last updated: 10:21am, June 29 2012