Iranian gov't responsible for Holocaust denial?

Iran's FM: No connection between the government and Holocaust denial cartoons contest. US museum: He is lying.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

In his speech at the Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recalled the Holocaust denial cartoons contest in Iran and emphasized that Holocaust denial still continues with those who seek to destroy Israel.

Meanwhile, the Iranian government is trying to deny responsibility for the anti-Semitic event.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in an interview with The New Yorker, said that his government “does not support, nor does it organize, any cartoon festival of the nature that you’re talking about.”

Zarif further claimed the the event was organized by an NGO "that is not controlled by the Iranian government. Nor is it endorsed by the Iranian government.”

Moreover, Zarif compared those organizing the cartoon festival, which solicits cartoons denying the Holocaust or questioning its importance in recent Western history, to the Ku Klux Klan.

“Why does the United States have the Ku Klux Klan? Is the government of the United States responsible for the fact that there are racially hateful organizations in the United States?”

Contradicting his statement, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum observed that the organizations associated with the contest are indeed supported by government entities and that previous contests in 2006 and 2015 have been endorsed by Iranian government officials and agencies.

The Museum’s statement said that it “urges global leaders to hold the Iranian government to Foreign Minister Zarif’s promise to deny visas to some contest participants and that neither he nor President Rouhani would attend the contest.”

According to reports, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova sent a letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in January calling the contest “completely opposed to the spirit of UNESCO and to actual programs and publications that UNESCO has been putting out for decades.”

Moreover, when Zarif was appointed to serve as Rouhani’s foreign minister in 2013, he refused  to condemn the Holocaust.