Iran to host conference on Holocaust
- Iran to host conference on Holocaust
By NASSER KARIMI, Associated Press Writer 14 minutes ago
TEHRAN, Iran -
Iran said Sunday it would sponsor a conference to examine the scientific
evidence supporting the Holocaust, dismissing it as exaggerated.
The decision came as U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan raised concerns with
Iranian officials over an exhibition of cartoons about the Holocaust in Iran's
Hard-line President Ahmoud Ahmadinejad has called the Nazis' slaughter of 6
million Jews a myth and said Israel should be wiped off the map or moved to
Germany or the United States. His remarks prompted a global outpouring of
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said both opponents and proponents
of the existence of the Holocaust could participate in the conference.
"God willing, a conference on the Holocaust will be held in the autumn. The
Holocaust is not a sacred issue that one can't touch," he told reporters. "I
have visited the Nazi camps in Eastern Europe. I think it is exaggerated."
Asefi did not disclose where the Holocaust conference would be held, nor who
would attend. Iran first raised the possibility of the conference in January.
Annan brought up the exhibit, which opened in response to Muslim outrage over
the Prophet Muhammad caricatures, in talks Saturday with Foreign Minister
Manouchehr Mottaki, said Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi.
Annan told Mottaki "we should avoid anything that incites hatred" according to
The Holocaust cartoon exhibit opened last month at Tehran's Caricature House,
with 204 entries from Iran and abroad.
The cartoons were submitted after the exhibit's co-sponsor, the Hamshahri
newspaper, said it wanted to test the West's tolerance for drawings about the
Nazis' mass murder of European Jews during World War II. The entries on
display came from nations including United States, Indonesia and Turkey.
Israel considers Iran a threat and has refused to rule out military force to
destroy Iran's nuclear program. Iran has said its nuclear program is intended
only to generate electricity, but Western countries suspect the country is
trying to build an atomic bomb.