Israel accuses Iran of anti-Semitism after drug speech
By Dan Williams
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Iranian allegations that Zionists were inciting drug trafficking and Jewish religious law called for annihilation of gentiles prompted a sharp response from Israel on Wednesday which said Iran was governed by fanatical anti-Semites.
The verbal clash highlighted festering tension in an international stand-off over Tehran's nuclear programme.
A third round of nuclear talks between world powers and Iran 10 days ago failed to resolve the stalemate. With that process seemingly close to collapse, Israel renewed veiled threats of military action against Iranian nuclear production sites, which it deems a mortal threat.
While Iran and Israel have traded hostile rhetoric for years, the remarks at a United Nations global drug enforcement conference in Tehran by Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi seemed unusually inflammatory to Western delegates.
Speaking on Tuesday, Rahimi 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", according to excerpts published by the Fars news agency.
He accused "Zionists", a term the Iranian government usually applies to Israelis and their Jewish supporters abroad, of inciting drug trafficking. "You cannot find a single addict among the Zionists," Rahimi said.
The New York Times, which covered the conference marking a U.N.-sponsored International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, further quoted Rahimi as saying Zionists ordered gynaecologists to kill black babies and that the Russian Revolution of 1917 was started by Jews - although none, he was also quoted as saying, died in it.
The speech, for which at least 10 Western diplomats were present, drew furious condemnation from Israel, which has been angered in the past by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's description of the Nazi Holocaust as a lie. Continued...