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. Europe 'should side with Iran': Ahmadinejad
BERLIN, May 27 (AFP) May 27, 2006
Europe should "side with Iran" on nuclear policy or "suffer the consequences", Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the German news weekly Der Spiegel in an interview to be published on Monday.

European powers are backing the United States in trying to persuade Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

Tehran claims its nuclear research is for civilian purposes only, but is suspected of trying to develop atomic weapons.

In the Der Spiegel interview, Ahmadinejad said the Europeans were "losing their reputation".

He also reiterated his questioning of the Nazi holocaust and opposition to the existence of Israel: "If the holocaust did happen, Israel should be in Europe and not in Palestine." he said.

In late 2005 the Iranian leader had provoked a scandal by calling the holocaust "a myth" and saying Israel should be "wiped off the map".

Comments such as these have led to calls for Ahmadinejad to be barred from attending the World Cup football finals, to be held in Germany from June 9, if not for an outright ban on Iran's participation in the tournament.

In the Der Spiegel interview, the football-loving president said he had not yet decided whether to travel to Germany to support his country's team, saying his decision "depended on many things".

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