Iranian president's anti-Israel comments could lead to EU sanctions

Iran could face sanctions if it continues provoking Israel and the West, European leaders warned Friday, even as Tehran threatened the Jewish state with destruction if it launched an attack.

Iran's president aggravated tensions with the West by calling the &to=' target=_blank>Holocaust a "myth" earlier in the week _ a statement that drew widespread condemnation. But Iran's interior minister insisted Friday that the West "misunderstood" President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments.

Ahmadinejad "wanted to say that if others harmed the Jewish community and created problems for the Jewish community, they have to pay the price themselves," Mostafa Pourmohammadi told The Associated Press in Greece. "People like the Palestinian people or other nations should not pay the price (for it)."

"A historical incident has occurred. Correct or not correct. We don't want to launch research or carry out historical investigation about it," he said on the sidelines of a conference in the Greek capital.

European leaders said the comments were the latest "provocative political moves" Tehran has made since May. In October, Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

"These comments are wholly unacceptable and have no place in civilized political debate," said a draft summit statement at a European Union summit that EU leaders were expected to adopt later Friday.

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