Backpedalling at the…
Backpedalling at the speed of light.

Iran’s foreign minister denied on Monday that Tehran wanted to see Israel “wiped off the map,” saying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been misunderstood.

“Nobody can remove a country from the map. This is a misunderstanding in Europe of what our president mentioned,” Manouchehr Mottaki told a news conference, speaking in English, after addressing the European Parliament.

“How is it possible to remove a country from the map? He is talking about the regime. We do not recognize legally this regime,” he said.

Ahmadinejad caused a storm of condemnation last October after Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted him as telling a conference: “Israel must be wiped off the map”.

If he meant the regime, he would have said the regime. And taken together with the President’s remark that Israel should be moved to Europe–thus wiping it off the Middle Eastern map–it’s not hard to understand that he meant what he said. This has everything to do with how the world is preparing to deal with Iran’s uranium enrichment program. The government is now trying to present a calmer face than one in which a madman is ready to blow up the Jewish state.

Mottaki’s comments came as he sought to assure EU lawmakers and institutions that Tehran had no ambitions to make nuclear weapons, despite widespread mistrust in Europe and the United States of the reasons behind Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran says it is for energy production only.

Mottaki also acknowledged the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed by Nazi Germany, despite Ahmadinejad saying in December that it was a myth.

But it’s just a mask.

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