Germany: Israel's right to exist is non-negotiable

German Foreign Ministry condemns Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who called Israel a "cancerous tumor".

Elad Benari,

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

The German Foreign Ministry on Monday condemned the anti-Israel remarks made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani this past Saturday.

Speaking at a conference, Rouhani called Israel a “cancerous tumor” and urged Muslim nations worldwide to unite and destroy Israel while also adding that Israel is a "fake regime".

“The German Government protests against the unacceptable remarks by Iranian President Rouhani and condemns them in the strongest possible terms. Israel's right to exist cannot be called into question and is non-negotiable. Germany will not tolerate any attempts to alter this,” said a statement from the German Foreign Ministry.

Rouhani’s remarks have been widely condemned around the world. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said, “I strongly condemn the unacceptable statements by President Rouhani regarding Israel. Questioning Israel's right to exist and calling for its destruction is absolutely unacceptable.”

On Sunday, the European Union also condemned Rouhani’s comments, saying, “President Rouhani’s remarks bringing into question Israel’s legitimacy are totally unacceptable. They are also incompatible with the need to address international disputes through dialogue and international law.”

Rouhani’s vitriol against Israel is nothing new, as Iranian leaders have continuously called for Israel’s destruction, including Rouhani who has been touted by some as a “moderate” president.

Earlier this year, Rouhani said that Israel “can never feel safe” because it is “oppressing the Palestinian nation”.

The Iranian president has in the past called Israel “illegitimate” and lamented that the crisis in Syria has made it difficult for Iran to focus on harming Israel.

Shortly after being elected in 2013, Rouhani called Israel an "old wound" that "should be removed". Iranian media later claimed that Rouhani’s remarks were distorted.