As the global community marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day Wednesday, Iran’s supreme leader uploaded a video to his official website questioning the magnitude of the Nazi regime’s mass murder campaign against the Jewish people during World War II.
In a video titled “Are the Dark Ages Over,” a series of photos showing killed or injured Palestinian children is displayed on screen, while a Farsi-speaking man, presumably Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself, can be heard condemning the nations of the world for offering support to Israel.
“It is Western powers headed by America that are [supporting Israel],” the narrator says. “This is while they say in their slogans that they are opposed to terrorism and [the Islamic State terrorist group].”
The speaker goes on to accuse European nations of silencing any view that does not conform to the historically accepted account of the genocide against the Jews by Nazi Germany.
“No one in European countries dares to speak about the Holocaust, while it is not clear whether the core of the matter is reality or not,” the narrator continues. “Even if it is reality, it is not clear how it happened. Speaking about the 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 why they claim to be supporters of freedom.”
The video was uploaded as Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani visited Europe, with trips to Italy, where he met with the pope on Tuesday, and France. Before leaving Rome for Paris on Wednesday, Rouhani charged that the “Zionist lobby” in the US was preventing warmer Iran-US ties.
Khamenei has expressed doubts about the historicity of the Holocaust in the past.
“The Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it has happened, it’s uncertain how it has happened,” Khamenei said during an address in 2014, according to a Twitter account under his name thought to be run by his office.
“Expressing opinion about the Holocaust, or casting doubt on it, is one of the greatest sins in the West. They prevent this, arrest the doubters, try them while claiming to be a free country,” said Khamenei, who has repeatedly called the Holocaust a “myth.”
Officials in Iran have been reluctant to admit the slaughter of 6 million Jews in Europe at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.
Earlier this month Israeli officials called on the UN to condemn Iran for the Tehran municipality’s annual Holocaust denial cartoon contest, set to take place in June of this year.
The winner of the event sponsored by the Tehran municipality will receive a $50,000 cash prize.
Organizers say the competition is designed to highlight the world’s double standard in defending caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, whose depiction is forbidden in Islam.
Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon also called on Ban to condemn the competition, claiming “this anti-Semitic act represents the pure evil of the Iranian regime.”