Thursday, December 15, 2005

Holocaust is a 'myth': Iran's Ahmadinejad

Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched a fresh attack against Israel, describing the Holocaust as a "myth" and saying the Jewish state should be moved to Europe or North America
(AFP)

Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched a fresh attack against Israel, dismissing the Holocaust as a "myth" and saying the Jewish state should be moved as far away as Alaska.

"They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred and place this above God, religions and the prophets," the outspoken president said in a speech carried live on state television.

"If somebody in their country questions God, nobody says anything, but if somebody denies the myth of the massacre of Jew, the Zionist loudspeakers and the governments in the pay of Zionism will start to scream," he said.

"Our proposal is this: give a piece of your land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska so they (the Jews) can create their own state," he said.

"Be certain that if you do that, the Iranian people will no longer protest against you and will support your decision," said Ahmadinejad, who was speaking to thousands of people in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

Ahmadinejad has already sparked international outrage over a string of anti-Israeli outbursts.

In October he said arch-enemy Israel must be "wiped off the map", and last week said Israel was a "tumour" that should be moved to Germany or Austria.

But his latest comments are the clearest yet that he is a denier of the Holocaust — Nazi Germany's systematic slaughter of an estimated six million Jews between 1933 and 1945.

"If you say it is true that you massacred and burned six million Jews during the Second World War, if you committed this massacre, why should the Palestinians pay the price?" Ahmadinejad asked.

"Why, under the pretext of this massacre, have you come to the heart of Palestine and the Islamic world (...), why have you created an artificial Zionist regime?" the president said.

Israel gave a quick, sharp response to the comments.

"We hope these extremist comments by the Iranian president will make the international community open its eyes and abandon any illusions about this regime," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev told AFP.

"Israel is calling once more for Iran's nuclear programme to be submitted by the International Atomic Energy Agency to the UN security council" and for the imposition of sanctions, added Regev.

sgh-sas/txw

Israel has consistently called for international action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, with its chief of staff Dan Halutz claiming on Tuesday that Tehran would have all the necessary knowledge to build a nuclear warhead within three months.

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