January 15, 2006, TEHRAN : Iran is planning a conference to assess the scale of the Holocaust, which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejects as a myth, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said today.
”Iran’s Foreign Ministry has decided to hold a conference on the Holocaust to assess its scale by scientific means and discuss its consequences,” Asefi told a news briefing.
He did not say when or where the conference would be held.
Ahmadinejad caused international outrage last month when he said the Holocaust — the killing of six million Jews by the Nazis and their allies between 1933 and 1945 — was a myth and suggested Israel be moved to North America or Europe.
”It is a strange world … It is possible to discuss everything but the Holocaust,” Asefi said, adding there were unanswered questions about the scale of Holocaust which Europeans should answer.
Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guardsman who was elected president by a landslide in June, said in October that Israel was a ”tumour” that must be ”wiped off the map”.
Analysts say Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel rhetoric may be part of a strategy aimed at increasing his own legitimacy at home and Iran’s voice in the region.