Iran's Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi condemned the Talmud for promoting global drug trade as part of a strategy to get rid of non-Jewish communities.
Rahimi made his remarks at an international anti-drug conference in Tehran on Tuesday, according to Agence France-Presse. It was a rare attack by an Iranian official targeting the Jewish faith as opposed to the state of Israel.
International officials, including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, immediately condemned the statements, reported The Times of Israel.
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"The secretary general has on many occasions called on Iranian officials to refrain from these kinds of anti-Semitic statements. He does so again in response to these latest reported comments," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said to the Times. "He believes it is the responsibility of leaders to promote harmony and understanding and he deeply regrets expressions of hatred and religious intolerance."
According to the Associated Press, Ashton said in a statement: "The High Representative is deeply disturbed by racist and anti-Semitic statements made by Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi."
The Talmud is a book of oral tradition stemming from the Jewish holy book, the Torah, which contains all the principles for governing daily life, reported AFP. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said many times that Israel is doomed to destruction, and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called it "a cancerous tumor that must be removed."