Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday derided France for prosecuting a prominent Holocaust denier in the 1990s.
“In his book, #RogerGaraudy, the French philosopher, expressed doubts about the number of #Holocaust victims. The French govt not only banned his book, but also brought Garaudy to trial. These are the claimants of advocating #FreedomOfSpeech,” tweeted the supreme leader, on the 21st anniversary of Garaudy’s conviction.
The “bravery and tirelessness of Roger #Garaudy in the work he initiated is praiseworthy. The fight he engaged in against the Zionists is a #DivineDuty for all those who respect the #Truth,” added Khamenei.
Revisionist historian and philosopher Garaudy was handed a fine and a suspended sentence in 1998 over his book “The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics” which claimed the Nazi killings of six million Jews was a “myth” that did not constitute a genocide and questioned whether the gas chambers were used for the systematic slaughter of Europe’s Jews.
The former French Resistance fighter and communist, who converted to Islam in the 1980s, died in 2012.
Khamenei has expressed doubts about the historicity of the Holocaust in the past, while claiming to eschew anti-Semitism.
“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.
In 2016, as the global community marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 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 Persian-speaking man, presumably 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].”