Bishop Assails Iranian Leader's Comments

WASHINGTON, D.C., NOV. 1, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ International Policy Committee protested «in the strongest possible terms» the recent comments of the president of Iran calling for the destruction of Israel.

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«Such declarations by a head of state undermine the quest for peace and threaten the stability of an already tense region,» said Bishop John Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee on Monday.

On Oct. 26, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmandinejad called for the termination of the state of Israel, and later defended his comments despite protests from the United States, Europe and Russia.

«We support the right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security,» said Bishop Ricard. «We also support the right of Palestinians to an independent and viable state. Israelis and Palestinians deserve the support and encouragement of their neighbors as they struggle for a just peace.»

Last Friday the Holy See issued a statement calling Ahmandinejad’s comments «unacceptable.»

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