EU condemns Iran’s ‘totally unacceptable’ threats against Israel

As opposed to recent warnings against West Bank annexation, which lacked union-wide consensus, statement on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was made on behalf of all 27 member states

Raphael Ahren is a former diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) meets with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell (R) in the capital Tehran on February 3, 2020. (Atta Kenare/AFP)
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) meets with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell (R) in the capital Tehran on February 3, 2020. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

The European Union on Thursday evening condemned the Iranian leader’s threats against Israel, after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei repeatedly called for the “elimination” of the “Zionist entity.”

As opposed to recent warnings from Brussels against Israel’s plans to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank — which were issued only in the name of the bloc’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell, as some member states objected to them — Thursday’s statement on Iran had union-wide consensus.

However, at least one Israeli diplomat said Friday that the statement did not accurately reflect the nature of Khamenei’s threats.

The brief statement, issued by Borrell “on behalf of the European Union,” started by condemning the elderly Iranian leader’s “threatening remarks” for questioning Israel’s legitimacy.

“Such statements are totally unacceptable and represent a deep source of concern. They are also incompatible with the objective of a stable and peaceful Middle East region pursued by the EU,” the statement read. “The European Union reiterates its fundamental commitment to the security of Israel.”

Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff — who in previous positions at the Foreign Ministry focused on the Iranian threat — said Friday that the union’s statement did not go far enough.

Khamenei “did not just bring into question Israel’s legitimacy, he wrote explicitly about ‘eliminating the Zionist regime’ which goes from denying the Holocaust to promoting one,” the Israeli diplomat wrote on his Twitter account.

“The gravity of his remarks is not reflected in the EU reaction.”

He added that the EU “should go beyond words” in its response, though he did not go into further detail.

Earlier on Thursday, Borrell, on his personal Twitter account, had condemned “in the strongest possible terms” Khamenei’s call to “fight” the Jewish state. “This is a threat to international peace and security. The security of Israel is of paramount importance and the EU will stand at its side,” Borrell wrote.

Khamenei repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction this week.

“We will support and assist any nation or any group anywhere who opposes and fights the Zionist regime, and we do not hesitate to say this,” he tweeted Wednesday.

“Eliminating the Zionist regime doesn’t mean eliminating Jews. We aren’t against Jews. It means abolishing the imposed regime & Muslim, Christian & Jewish Palestinians choose their own govt & expel thugs like [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” he added the same day.

Khamenei also posted on his website an anti-Israel poster that invoked the term “final solution,” which is usually associated with Nazi Germany’s efforts to eliminate all Jews.

The poster showed people celebrating at the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem after apparently capturing it from Israel as a Palestinian flag is raised over the Al-Aqsa Mosque. “Palestine Will Be Free. The final solution: Resistance until referendum,” the text on the poster says.

A poster from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website calling for Israel’s destruction that uses the term “final solution,” which usually refers to the Nazi policy of genocide against Jews during the Holocaust. (via

The poster later appeared to have been deleted from the website.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad on Thursday defended the poster, saying it was “disgusting that those whose civilization found a ‘Final Solution” in gas chambers attack those who seek a real solution at the ballot box, through a REFERENDUM,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

The Islamic Republic has long called for a referendum among Palestinians to determine the political future of the Holy Land. Meanwhile, however, the regime finances terrorist groups sworn to Israel’s destruction, including the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Gaza-based Hamas.

Also Thursday, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards released a message ahead of Quds Day on Friday expressing hope Israel’s destruction is near and Khamenei will soon pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Iranians burn an Israeli flag during a parade marking Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Tehran on May 31, 2019. (AFP)

“The IRGC said that hopefully, as the two leaders of the Islamic Revolution have promised, the end of the Zionist regime is close and soon the news of Ayatollah Khamenei congregation prayers in the Holy Quds and the region emerging without the Zionist regime and the US will be covered by all the media of the world,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted the message as saying.

The military force also vowed to continue to fight Israel and said the Palestinians remain its top priority.

Quds Day, which Iran has marked since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, is usually commemorated with regime-orchestrated demonstrations across Iran against Israel and expressing support for the Palestinians. It is held on the last Friday of Ramadan, which this year is May 22.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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