Iranian President comments instigate international fury

Israel's vice premier claimes Iran should be expelled from the United Nations after its new president remarks that Israel should be "wiped off the map," and Britain summoned an Iranian diplomat Thursday to protest the remarks.

Italy on Thursday also condemned the words of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, telling the Iranian ambassador the comments were "unacceptable" and that they confirm worries over the political positions - and nuclear intentions - of Iran's new leadership.

Shimon Peres, Israel's vice premier and a Nobel peace laureate, said it was "impossible to ignore" Ahmadinejad's comments.

"Since the United Nations was established in 1945, there has never been a head of state that is a U.N. member state that publicly called for the elimination of another U.N. member state," Shimon Peres told.

In a speech Wednesday in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said "there is no doubt that the new wave (of attacks) in Palestine will wipe off this stigma (Israel) from the face of the Islamic world."

Ahmadinejad spoke during a conference called "The World without Zionism."

His comments drew widespread international condemnations.

Britain's Foreign Office said Thursday it intended to summon Iran's charge d'affaires to protest Ahmadinejad's remarks, calling them "deeply disturbing and sickening."

Other world governments on Wednesday issued statements criticizing the Iranian's remarks, including Britain, Canada and Germany.

In Madrid, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos summoned Iran's ambassador to protest Ahmadinejad's comments. French Foreign Minister Jean-Baptiste Mattei also condemned the remarks "with the utmost firmness."

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Israel protested Iran's comments Wednesday at the United Nations but has not decided whether to ask officially for Iran's removal.

Peres said he would discuss the Iranian threat with Russia's visiting foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, on Thursday, the AP reports.