Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Wednesday took advantage of International Holocaust Remembrance Day to deny that the Holocaust ever occurred.
A video titled “Are The Dark Ages Over?” was posted on Khamenei’s official website. Against the backdrop of images of the Auschwitz death camp, the video says that “speaking about the Holocaust and expressing doubts about it is considered to be a great sin,” but that “it is not clear whether the core of this matter is a reality or not.”
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted a version of the video with English subtitles to its website. MEMRI also noted that the video was promoted on the Facebook page of Iran's military and that it specifically pointed out that it was posted on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The following is the translation as provided by MEMRI:
“Who assists the fake Zionist regime? Who supports them? Who clear the road for them? Who stands behind them?
“It is Western powers – headed by America that are doing so. This is why they say in their slogans that they are opposed to terrorism and ISIS, they are lying. They say things that are not true. This is ignorance.
“No one in European countries dares to speak about holocaust while it is not clear whether the core of this matter is a reality or not. Even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened. Speaking about holocaust and expressing doubts about it is considered to be a great sin. If someone does this they stop, arrest, imprison and sue him. This is while they claim to be supporters of freedom. This is the ignorance that exists in the world today.
“We should be awake. You dear brothers, dear people of Iran, Muslims in the great Islamic Ummah and officials in different countries should know that we can stand up against the ignorance.”
Iranian leaders have made Holocaust denial a regular part of their anti-Israel rhetoric, and therefore this video comes as no surprise.
Khamenei two years ago suggested that the Holocaust “was not real”, and former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust on a regular basis as well. Prior to leaving the presidency, Ahmadinejad said he prided himself most on his denial of the Holocaust.
In addition, Iran has regularly held Holocaust-denying cartoon exhibits, and is planning to do so again this year.