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Ahmadinejad claims 'Zionists' behind Swedish cartoon

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Ahmadinejad claims 'Zionists' behind Swedish cartoon
18:33 CEST+02:00
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that "Zionists" were behind a cartoon in Swedish newspaper Nerikes Allehanda, which depicted the head of the Prophet Mohammed on a dog's body. The drawing sparked an official protest by Tehran to Stockholm.

"They do not want the Swedish government to be a friend of other nations. I strongly believe they are behind it (the cartoon). They thrive on conflict and war," he said.

The claim came during a tirade against Israel, in which Ahmadineja accused Zionists of sowing conflict, publishing offensive cartoons and "lying about being Jewish."

"Zionists are people without any religion," Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly predicted that Israel is doomed to disappear, told a news conference in Tehran.

"They are lying about being Jewish because religion means brotherhood, friendship and respecting other divine religions," he said.

"They are an organised minority who have infiltrated the world. They are not even a 10,000-strong organisation," he said.

"Anywhere they are found there is war. Anywhere where there is war they are behind it," Ahmadinejad added.

Echoing his previous predictions about Israel's future, the president said:

"If the world is calm, people, Europeans, Germans even, will uproot them."

Iran's foreign ministry on Monday summoned a Swedish diplomat to protest against the cartoon in Nerikes Allehanda, an Örebro-based regional newspaper .

The leader writer behind the editorial accompanied by the cartoon in question on Tuesday defended his piece.

"The right to caricature a religion and the right to practice a religion are connected," Lars Ströman told The Local. Meanwhile, he has received support from the Swedish Association of Newspaper Publishers, which said it was important to defend the publication of controversial work.

Iran's government denies charges of anti-Semitism, pointing to the peaceful existence in Iran of a 20,000-strong Jewish community, the largest in the Middle East outside Israel.

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