The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, Tuesday said it was unable to explain why Iran was included in the list of countries in a question in a EU survey related with threat to world peace, IRNA reported from Brussels.
In reply to IRNA's question during a Commission press conference in Brussels Tuesday as to why the Islamic Republic was included in the list although Iran is not a nuclear power, it is not occupying others' territories and not threatening any other country, Commission spokesman Gerasimos Thomas replied:
"I cannot answer the question because I do not know why the list of countries was made. I suppose that the reason Iran and other countries were put was for the same reason like Somalia."
The spokesman also did not answer to IRNA's question as to why 8 of the 15 countries in the list were Muslim nations (Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia and Somalia). The European Commission on Monday released a Eurobarometer survey titled 'Iraq and Peace in the World'.
One of the questions asked to 500 citizens in each of the 15 EU member states was: "For each of the following countries, tell me if, in your opinion, it presents or not a threat to peace in the world?" Israel, US, North Korea, India, China, Russia and the EU were also included in the list.
53 percent of those asked responded that the US, North Korea and Iran posed a threat to world peace.
However, a hue and cry has broken out in Europe over the survey which showed that the majority of EU citizens (59 percent) consider Israel as the biggest threat to world peace and secondly the US.
Commission president Romano Prodi has reacted by claiming that the survey's findings 'do not represent the politics or the thoughts of the European Commission'.
"I am very concerned by the survey's findings: they reveal a prejudice that must be condemned without hesitation," he told Italian daily La Stampa.
"In a Europe born out of horror for the war and the Holocaust there is no place for or tolerance of anti-Semitism."
Prodi said the results could be attributed in part to the way in which Eurobarometer questions were asked.
"No countries should have been suggested. We will have to look at how the questions were asked and if they were partisan we need to see who was responsible," he said.
Italian premier and current EU president Silvio Berlusconi telephoned Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to express his 'surprise and indignation' over the report, while the Zionist regime expressed its contempt and anger over the survey.
Commission spokesman Thomas reiterated that the survey, which cost 150,000 euros to conduct, will have no influence on the EU's policy in the Middle East.
The spokesman said he was not aware if the US had lodged a protest over the survey.
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