U.S. Demands Iraqi Apology for Slur Against Martin Indyk

The United States has called on Iraq’s foreign minister to apologize for referring to a senior State Department official as a “known Jew and Zionist.”

Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf criticized Martin Indyk, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, for pledging to help political opponents of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

In a letter to the U.N. Security Council this week al-Sahhaf wrote, “The statements of the United States Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk, who is a known Jew and Zionist, are simply an official and documented reaffirmation of the enmity of the United States administration toward Iraq.”

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, lodged a formal protest in the Security Council on Thursday “against ethnic slurs committed by the foreign minister of Iraq against an American official.”

Richardson called the foreign minister “to apologize for this dramatically offensive slur.”

Indyk, the former U.S. ambassador to Israel, is the first Jew to serve as the State Department’s top Middle East policy-maker.

Security Council President Antonio Monteiro of Portugal promised Richardson that he would raise the matter with Iraq’s ambassador to the United Nations.

The protest came during the Security Council’s meeting about new testing that shows that Iraq filled missile warheads with deadly VX gas. Iraq, which has acknowledged developing the gas, continues to deny that its scientists created a stable mixture to deploy on warheads.

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