NewsSpecial WireRome protest against Iran’s President draws thousands

Rome protest against Iran’s President draws thousands

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Iran Focus: Rome, Nov. 04 – More than 10,000 Italians held a candle-lit vigil outside the Iranian embassy in Rome late Thursday in protest to threatening comments by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who called last week for the destruction of Israel and threatened leaders of Muslim countries who develop ties with the Jewish state with “fiery” consequences. Iran Focus

Rome, Nov. 04 – More than 10,000 Italians held a candle-lit vigil outside the Iranian embassy in Rome late Thursday in protest to threatening comments by Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who called last week for the destruction of Israel and threatened leaders of Muslim countries who develop ties with the Jewish state with “fiery” consequences.

The demonstration was organised by the conservative Italian broadsheet, Il Foglio, partially-owned by the wife of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Several dozens lawmakers and Senators from both government and opposition parties took part in the rally, though two prominent ministers backed out at the last minute for fear of attacks on Italians in Iran.

Foreign Minister Gianfranco Fini told state television that his presence at the rally could “cause harmful consequences to our national interests and to the security of our fellow citizens from the Iranian side”.

Defence Minister Antonio Martino cited similar concerns though he denounced Ahmadinejad’s remarks as “shameful”.

Iran’s government-owned Mehr news agency hailed the non-participation of the two ministers in the vigil and said the rally was organised by “conservative elements linked to the Zionist regime”.

“The two ministers said they would not participate in the rally, because they were afraid of the ‘dangerous consequences’ of this on their country’s ties with Iran”, the news agency, which is run by the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wrote.

Piero Fassino, who heads Italy’s largest opposition party, told the rally, “It’s our duty to support all those fighting for democracy, freedom and reform in [Middle Eastern”> countries”.

Communications Minister Mario Landolfi, from Fini’s right-wing National Alliance party, said that lasting peace in the Middle East could only be guaranteed if both states were willing to live side by side.

Among the religious groups that participated were several Jewish groups as well as the head of Italy’s Muslim League, Mario Siajola, who said that Ahmadinejad’s comments were a barrier to peace in the Middle East.

Dozens of Iranian opposition activists also attended the rally, waving flags and lifting banners saying that Ahmadinejad was a “terrorist”.

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