New York, 25th September, 2012 –

ECI in New York as world leaders prepare for General Debate
– Time to stop Ahmadinejad is now

The ECI call for a ban on Holocaust denial took a new turn on Monday as Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defied a warning from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for having made inflammatory remarks and for anti-Israeli rhetoric at the UN. In a speech on Monday at a UN conference on the rule of law, he lashed out against Israel, claiming that "Israel has no roots in the Middle East", thus denying   3,000 years of Jewish history in the region. He went on to state that "Israel is just a passing phase in history", confirming his previous remarks threatening to "wipe Israel off the map of the world."

The remarks come just two days before the Iranian leader is to address the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations. Many leaders have expressed their concerns about that the arch enemy of the Jewish people will be able to address world leaders on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

'The time to stop Iran is now', said ECI director Tomas Sandell in New York on Monday. 'Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly neglected every call from the international community to inspect his nuclear weapons program while at the same time threatening to use his nuclear weapons to attack Israel. In a CNN interview on Monday night, Ahmadinejad refused to answer the question on whether he believed in the existence of the Holocaust'.

'The reputation of the UN Secretary General is now at stake', said Sandell. 'The measures the UN leader takes on Wednesday will demonstrate whether there is any political will to stop Ahmadinejad from using the UN as a platform for Holocaust denial and anti-Israeli rhetoric.

In January, The European Parliament issued a ban on Holocaust denial at their sessions in both Strasbourg and Brussels. The UN leader recently warned Iran that such language could have "potentially harmful consequences" for Iran.

ECI, which has called for a ban on Holocaust denial at the UN, is following the developments at the UN on site in New York, where they are meeting with national delegations and UN officials. A meeting with a top UN official is scheduled for Thursday, one day after Ahmadinejad's speech, to discuss the ECI campaign for a permanent ban on Holocaust denial at the UN.