(photo credit: AP [file])
European Union leaders will address the Iranian president's denunciation of the Holocaust as a "myth," Germany's foreign minister said Thursday, warning that patience is running out with Tehran.
In Beijing, the Chinese government also criticized Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's remarks, saying it opposed actions that could undermine world stability.
The German government has condemned Wednesday's remarks by Ahmadinejad and called on the United Nations as well as the EU to follow suit. Berlin says the comments will also weigh on talks over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
The EU summit, beginning Thursday in Brussels, will address Ahmadinejad's statements "at our urging," Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in the German parliament. The remarks showed "with how much irresponsibility and cynicism the Iranian government currently regards the situation of Israel and the Near East."
"That, of course, makes the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program more difficult, and I say again: The government in Tehran must understand that the patience of the international community is not endless," Steinmeier said.
Germany, along with France and Britain, has been leading diplomatic efforts to allay fears over Iran's nuclear intentions. Talks resume December 21 on the issue, with envoys from the three countries.
Ahmadinejad first provoked an international outcry in October when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map." He then expressed doubt about the Nazi destruction of European Jewry during World War II and went further Wednesday - saying that the Holocaust is a "myth" Europeans have used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.
Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany.
Some German lawmakers are urging their government to consider excluding Iran from the World Cup soccer tournament to take place in Germany next year.
"Iran's participation is endangered if the president continue to express himself in this unbearable manner," Social Democrat Swen Schulz was quoted as saying in the Bild newspaper.
"The government must work at all levels to isolate Iran politically," Volker Beck of the opposition Greens party said on N24 television. "It's worthwhile to continue the discussion on whether to exclude Iran from the World Cup."
Also Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang pointedly rejected Ahmadinejad's comments.
"We are not in favor of any remarks detrimental to stability and peace," he said. "Israel is a sovereign state."
China maintains good relations with both Iran and Israel. It recently signed an agreement with Tehran aimed at giving it direct access to large supplies of Iranian oil.