Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said during a farewell ceremony Sunday that publicizing his Holocaust denial was a major achievement of his presidency.
“That was a taboo topic that no one in the West allowed to be heard,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech, according to the Iranian Fars news agency. “We put it forward at the global level. That broke the spine of the Western capitalist regime.”
Ahmadinejad’s remarks on the Holocaust appeared on the Fars news site in Arabic, but not on its English website, which covered other aspects of the speech.
Ahmadinejad also called for the Arab world to work together to punish Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians.
The remarks that were reported by Fars focused on Ahmadinejad’s call for the reconstruction and development of Iran and reforming the present world order, which he described as the main two missions of the Islamic Revolution. ”We have two missions, one is developing Iran and the other one is reforming the world. Some imagine that these two are separate issues and that we should just deal with Iran and forget the world, but we believe that these two are interrelated and binding issues,” Ahmadinejad said.
President-elect Hassan Rouhani has described Ahmadinejad’s anti-Israel remarks as “hate rhetoric” that had brought the country to the brink of war, the German news agency dpa reported.
Rouhani, who was elected to replace Ahmadinejad after the latter ends his second four-year presidency next month, has promised to lead Iran back to a path of moderation and openness toward the world.
In a speech three weeks ago, soon after winning the presidency, he said that sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program “only benefit Israel.” Rouhani’s reference to “Israel” was itself unusual; Iranian leaders often refer to the “Zionist entity” or “Zionist regime.”