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Merkel harsh on Iran, anti-Semitism

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Angela Merkel delivered a stern rebuke of Iran and promised to stay vigilant in confronting anti-Semitism.

The German chancellor on Tuesday expressed her “utter contempt” for statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said Iran’s nuclear program represented a threat to the entire world. She said it was not the world’s responsibility to prove its good will to Iran, but “Iran must prove to the world that they do not intend to build a nuclear weapon.”

Merkel made her comments after being awarded the 2007 World Statesmen Award by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation. Rabbi Arthur Schneier, the foundation’s founder, warmly praised Merkel for her strong stance against anti-Semitism and threats to the State of Israel.

“Anti-Semitism also contradicts the values that I hold dear, to which my country is committed, the values on which we have built united Europe,” Merkel said.

She stressed the importance of confronting anti-Semitism in its early stages and to work to “nip it in the bud.”

Merkel also said her country’s troubled history is part of its identity and acknowledged Germany’s special responsibility to fight anti-Jewish hatred.

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