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Iran Protests French President's Remarks

Iran has summoned the French ambassador in Tehran to protest remarks by French President Nicolas Sarkozy critical of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iranian media said the foreign ministry called in the French diplomat Bernard Poletti Thursday to express strong objections to Mr. Sarkozy's comments.

The French president said Monday he will not sit at the same table with Mr. Ahmadinejad because the Iranian leader has called for the destruction of Israel. Mr. Sarkozy's comments coincided with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Mr. Sarkozy also expressed regret that Iran has the "misfortune," as he put it, of being represented by leaders such as Mr. Ahmadinejad.

Iran's foreign ministry criticized the French president's comments as "interfering" and warned they could hurt Iranian-French relations.

The French News Agency quoted a French foreign ministry spokesman Thursday saying Paris' relations with Iran remain based on an approach that combines firmness with openness to dialogue.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad has sparked international controversy by calling for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and describing the Holocaust as a "myth."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.