Rouhani statement on the Holocaust should lead to reconsideration of Ahmadinejad’s similar message

Christiane Amanpour and Hassan Rouhani (Photo: CNN)

Christiane Amanpour and Hassan Rouhani (Photo: CNN)

While interviewing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Christiane Amanpour declared, “One of the things your predecessor used to do from this very platform was deny the Holocaust and pretend that it was a myth,” before asking his his thoughts on the Holocaust.

Rouhani replied, though hedging a bit, “I can say that any crime that is committed in history against humanity, such as the crimes committed by the Nazis, whether against Jews or non-Jews, from our viewpoint is completely condemned. Just as if today a crime is committed against any nation, religion, ethnicity or belief, we condemn that crime or genocide.”

He continued:

Therefore, what the Nazis did is condemnable. The dimensions of it which you say, is the responsibility of historians and researchers to make those dimensions clear. I am not a historian myself.
However, this point should be clear: If a crime took place, that crime should not be a cover for a nation or group to justify their crimes or oppression against others. Therefore, if the Nazis committed a crime, and however much it was, we condemn that, because genocide or mass murder is condemned.
From our viewpoint, it doesn’t matter if the person killed is Jewish, Christian or Muslim. From our viewpoint, [it] does not make difference. Killing an innocent human is rejected and condemned. But this cannot be a reason for 60 years to displace a people from their land and say that the Nazis committed crimes. That crime [too] is condemned; occupying the land of others is also condemned from our viewpoint.

When you hear all this hoopla about how an Iranian official FINALLY admitted the historical reality of the Holocaust, remember this –

During his now-infamous appearance at Columbia University in September 2007, Ahmadinejad referred to the Holocaust as “a present reality of our time, a history that occurred” and continued rhetorically:

“…given this historical event, if it is a reality, we need to still question whether the Palestinian people should be paying for it or not. After all, it happened in Europe. The Palestinian people had no role to play in it. So why is it that the Palestinian people are paying the price of an event they had nothing to do with?

The Palestinian people didn’t commit any crime. They had no role to play in World War II. They were living with the Jewish communities and the Christian communities in peace at the time. They didn’t have any problems.

And today, too, Jews, Christians and Muslims live in brotherhood all over the world in many parts of the world. They don’t have any serious problems.

But why is it that the Palestinians should pay a price, innocent Palestinians, for 5 million people to remain displaced or refugees abroad for 60 years. Is this not a crime?”

He summed up his perspective this way: “I am not saying that it [the Holocaust] didn’t happen at all. This is not that judgment that I am passing here. I said…granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people?”

Such comments echoed Ahmadinejad’s earlier statements.  In mid-December 2005, early in his tenure as president, Ahmadinejad was already employing the rhetorical device of asking a question in order to prove a point.  ”If the killing of Jews in Europe is true,” he said at a conference in Tehran, “and the Zionists are being supported because of this excuse, why should the Palestinian nation pay the price?”  He repeated this question a few days later at a rally in southern Iran, and reiterated his position in early 2006.

In comments reported by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Ahmadinejad asked rhetorically, “Don’t you think that continuation of genocide by expelling Jews from Europe was one of their [the Europeans'] aims in creating a regime of occupiers of Al-Quds [Jerusalem]?”  Here, Ahmadinejad is clearly affirming the Nazi “genocide” – which he called a “human tragedy” – and noting that the subsequent European endorsement of Zionism – which he called a “Western ideology and imperialistic idea” – and encouragement of Jewish emigration from Europe to Palestine constituted another form of ethnic cleansing.

“Why don’t the Europeans who perpetrated the crime pay the price themselves?” the Iranian president asked, adding, “In fact, the Europeans have practiced ethnic cleansing against the Jews in Europe by expelling the Jews from all the European states.”

In a letter sent to German leader Angela Merkel in September 2006, Ahmadinejad noted, “Using the excuse for the settlement of the survivors of the Holocaust, they encouraged the Jews worldwide to migrate and today a large part of the inhabitants of the occupied territories are non-European Jews. If tyranny and killing is condemned in one part of the world, can we acquiesce and go along with tyranny, killing, occupation and assassinations in another part of the world simply in order to redress the past wrongs?”

This acknowledgement of past wrongs and questioning their exploitation and the legitimacy of their consequences was echoed in February 2007 by Ali Akbar Velayati, a close advisor to Iranian leader Ali Khamenei.  Speaking with European journalist Bernard Guetta about the claims of Iranian Holocaust denial, he stated, “One may wonder about that genocide’s number of victims without denying that it took place, and, may I remind you on this topic, that it was committed by Europeans, Nazis, and that the way to that massacre had been prepared by all the European persecutions of the preceding centuries, beginning with those organized by Spain?”

When asked directly whether he believes “the [Nazi Holocaust] genocide is a historical reality,” Velayati was clear: “Yes,” he said, “but we do not agree that this reality should be used to justify the oppression of the Palestinians.”

With this in mind, consider this statement from 1956:

“If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country… There has been anti-Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their [the Palestinians'] fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations’ time, but for the moment there is no chance.”

Who could have possibly said that?

David Ben-Gurion.

Update:

In response to this post, the purpose of which is to demonstrate a certain consistency in official Iranian statements over the years that is often ignored by the mainstream press, longtime Mondoweiss critic Armin Rosen tweeted this:


Condemning Mondoweiss or myself as trafficking in Holocaust revisionism is absurd.  Nowhere in the above post are any of the comments made by Iranian officials endorsed or justified.  Furthermore, the attention paid to what Iranians say about the horrifying and undeniable systematic extermination of millions of Jews by the Nazis – something no Iranian had anything to do with – is, in itself, curious.

Furthermore, there is no doubt that, in addition to the quotes listed above, Ahmadinejad has said a number of more inflammatory comments regarding the Holocaust, often questioning the scope of the genocide and insisting that more research be conducted.  Holocaust skepticism – and appealing to historians over politicians to seek answers – is surely one aspect of (if not tantamount to) Holocaust denial.  While Ahmadinejad has said,  ”I believe the Holocaust from what we’ve read happened during World War II, after 1930, in the 1940s,” he has also been quoted as calling the Holocaust a “big lie.”

It should also be noted that, in official Iranian discourse, no mention of the Holocaust goes without an attendant reference to the occupation and oppression of Palestinians.  The purpose of doing so, it would appear, is not necessarily to even equate these two distinct tragedies, but rather to explicitly question and condemn the exploitation of the Holocaust in order to justify the subsequent ethnic cleansing and colonization of Palestine.  There is no doubt that the horror of the Holocaust is constantly used by Israeli leaders and their acolytes here in the United States to fear-monger, demonize and beat the drums of war against Iran.

Over the course of his public and private appearances this week, Rouhani’s repeated comments on the Holocaust continue to follow the official Iranian line, while, admittedly addressing the accusation of “denial” directly.

On Wednesday morning, he told a gathering of journalists and editors, “The Nazis committed a crime in World War II. As to the scale of the massacres, and the numbers that my predecessor mentioned, let’s leave that to the historians,” adding that the Nazis committed a “massacre that cannot be denied – especially against the Jewish people,” he said, calling it a “horrendous crime.”

At the Council on Foreign Relations Thursday night, Rouhani said:

I think that I have responded in one or two interviews in which I was asked about it and I explained that we condemn the crimes by Nazis in the World War II and regrettably those crimes were committed against many groups, many people, many people were killed including a group of Jewish people. And we condemn their crimes.

In general, we condemn the murder and killing of innocent people always. It makes no difference to us. When that person is innocent and is killed, whether he or she was Jewish, or Christian, or Muslim, there’s just no difference in our eyes. We condemn crimes as such.

But the argument here is that if the Nazis committed a crime, this does not mean that the price paid for it should be done by other people elsewhere. This should not serve as any justification to push out from their homes a group of people because of what Nazis did.

To claim that these comments are so divergent from repeated statements made by Ahmadinejad would be disingenuous. What is different with this new Iranian president, however, is an unwillingness – and hopefully no interest – in deliberately poking Western and Israeli taboos, something his predecessor clearly relished.  Gone are the days of Holocaust Conferences and nauseating cartoon contests.

There is no doubt that the horror of the Holocaust is constantly used by Israeli leaders and their acolytes here in the United States to fear-monger, demonize and beat the drums of war against Iran. In a recent column, M.J. Rosenberg deftly articulated very wise words about the issue of Iranian Holocaust comments:

I wish Rouhani would just drop the ugly and offensive quibbling about the Holocaust. All he needs to do is speak the truth: the Holocaust happened; 6,000,000 Jews were killed along with millions of others; and all the mass killing constituted a crime against humanity.

Period. End of controversy. Friend of both truth and peace celebrate: the war lobby weeps.
But Rouhani resists that kind of formulation, although he does condemn the Holocaust, albeit a little vaguely.

So what?

If Rouhani is prepared to negotiate over nuclear weapons, why do we care what he says about the Holocaust (it would be different if he acknowledged it and endorsed it). The government of Turkey, our NATO ally, denies the Armenian genocide and Turkey perpetrated it. Japan, our closest friend in Asia, still denies the Rape of Nanking and all the other war crimes Japan committed in China in the 1930′s. Congress forced the Smithsonian Institute to eviscerate its exhibit on the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki for hinting that there might have been alternatives to using nuclear weapons. There are dozens of more examples, maybe even more than dozens.

But again, so what?

Denying the Holocaust is ugly and stupid but so is the “Holocaust denial industry,” by which I mean those who profit by saying the Holocaust didn’t happen and those who profit by obsessing over what they consider to be Holocaust denial. (In that later category, I include those who consider it Holocaust denial if one dares to say that people other than Jews were Holocaust victims every bit as much as Jews were.) All these people desecrate the memories of the victims, — all the victims but especially the 6,000,000 Jews who are being used to score political points.

Enough already.

About Nima Shirazi

Nima Shirazi is co-editor of the Iran, Iraq and Turkey pages for the online magazine Muftah. His political analysis can be found on his blog, WideAsleepinAmerica.com, where this post first appeared. Follow him on Twitter @WideAsleepNima.
Posted in Iran, US Politics

{ 22 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. OlegR says:

    /He summed up his perspective this way: “I am not saying that it [the Holocaust] didn’t happen at all. This is not that judgment that I am passing here. I said…granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people?”/

    He is dancing around it without saying this and that way.
    If it happened and i am not saying that it didn’t,
    it’s for the historians , bla bla bla.

    Holocaust denial Persian bazaar style.
    And he gets flack at home for even that.

  2. pabelmont says:

    The term “the holocaust” is the name for a historical happening, subject as all historical happenings are to study, research, description, re-description, re-re-description, etc., as new factual aspects are discovered. Being part of history, “the holocaust” is meant to be researched and questioned, discussed, and disagreed on. Like any history.

    By contrast, the term “The Holocaust” is the name for a political manipulation, one or more descriptions of alleged historical happenings embedded in one or more political miasmas of censorship and intimidation which seek to preserve the descriptions (of alleged historical happenings) unquestioned, un-further-researched, un-discussed.

    Some politicians have even passed laws making “Holocaust denial” either a civil or criminal wrong. I am not sure that such laws, which aim to preserve dictatorial powers for a few “owners” of The Holocaust by which such owners can punish anyone who (they say) questions or denies whatever they care — for the moment — to consider the necessary kowtowing to their own “description” (or, if not described, then hieratic but secret knowledge) of the alleged historical happening.

    Questioning, challenging, research, are OUT. Obeisance is IN. There is a “revealed truth” (whether or not it is revealed in a single document, whether or not such revelation is referred to in the anti-denial statutes).

    Even suggesting that there is a problem about the description of the alleged historical happening which lies at the center of The Holocaust is treated by some as “denial” — witness the treatment of the Iranians who speak of historical facts beyond their knowledge. (That is an unacceptable challenge, because to suggest that historians have anything NEW to discover or to confirm about The Holocaust is iconoclastic — as compared to the eager acceptance by any real historian of suggestions that there is anything NEW to discover or to confirm about (various) descriptions of the holocaust.

    I feel sure there is no single authoritative text accepted by The Presidents, AIPAC, Simon Wiesenthal Center, and all the Jewish higher-archies as definitively describing The Holocaust, because, if there were, then we’d at least know what they demanded that everyone agree to, whereas, as matters stand, we do not even know what the “party line” is — in full detail — and must therefore quake in our boots at the thought of prosecution (or persecution) for the “wrong” of Holocaust denial if we open our mouths at all about details of The Holocaust other than its name and that Jews alone were victims of Nazis.

  3. Mister Shirazi- I will read your article later and parse your article and possibly respond again later. For now: I think to deny that Ahmadinejad trafficked in Holocaust denial is absurd. He organized a conference and constantly started sentences: if this occurred.

    For a moment indulge an analogy. A president of the united states constantly refers to darwin’s theory of evolution as a theory. If this is true, then… Would we not call the guy a boob and a know nothing. The constant use of “if this occurred… ” is itself a form of denial. Denial not only speaks the language of atheism, but also the language of agnosticism. “There is no god” versus “prove to me that there is a god” or I don’t know. Ahmadinejad played the agnostic.

    (And I think “played” is the key word. He never showed an ounce of sensitivity on the issue and played it to the hilt and for that alone he is a punk.)

    • He didnt deny it, Shirazi even provide quotes from him.
      You seems obsessed with the holocaust..

    • talknic says:

      yonah fredman
      “The constant use of “if this occurred… ” is itself a form of denial”

      IF we try to find the value of Z knowing the value of X & Y and;
      IF X = 10, And Y = 3, Then X – Y = 7

      You’re theory is that 10 – 3 is not 7 ?

      We know the Holocaust occurred in Europe. We know Palestine is not in Europe (al Husseini did not represent the Palestinians when he met Hitler, no Palestinians served under him in the Balkans and; no Palestinian alive today voted for him or served under him or had anything what so ever to do with the Holocaust. They were all children in 1948, likely not even born in the period of the Holocaust. Life expectancy in Palestine in 1948 was about 42 yrs )

      IF the Holocaust occurred in Europe, And Not in Palestine, Then WTF are Palestinians still paying the price?

      BTW IF The state as a person of international law should possess a defined territory link to pages.citebite.com and; IFIsrael did Not declare any borders,Then Israel was never a state

      ” A president of the united states constantly refers to darwin’s theory of evolution as a theory. If this is true, then… Would we not call the guy a boob and a know nothing.”

      You used the “if” word… IF we apply your theory of IF = denial Then we would deny the guy is a boob

      However, your analogy is idiotic. Darwin’s theory of evolution IS a theory.

      IF A president of the united states constantly said Darwin’s theory of evolution is wrong, Then one could call him a boob

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “The constant use of “if this occurred… ” is itself a form of denial. ”

      Baloney. It is a rhetorical premise. It’s setting up the meat of the argument – which you zionists always ignore – that the happening of the holocaust doesn’t justify the crimes you’ve committed against the Palestinians.

      “Denial not only speaks the language of atheism, but also the language of agnosticism.”

      So not knowing a fact is equal to denying a fact??? You are leaping into totalitarian ideology when you mandate opinions or declare, by fiat, that some thoughts are obligatory.

  4. RoHa says:

    For sanity’s sake, can you not give it a flaming rest?

    I’m fed up to the back teeth with all this Hobson-Jobson about the Holocaust.
    It just goes on and on and on, and we get bludgeoned by incessant films, stories, and TV shows about it. We get sick of it.

    Is it insensitive to say so? Maybe, but not half so insensitive as it is to keep pushing it at us.

    The Holocaust is over. It ended before most of us were born, and it is both crazy and indecent for those who are not actual victims to pretend to suffer from it.

    Did lots of people die in the Holocaust? Yes. And far more died during the Second World War. They drowned in dark engine rooms of sunken ships. They were blown to pieces on the battlefields. They froze to death in Russia, and were raped and bayoneted in China. Innocent Arabs stepped on German and British landmines in North Africa, and innocent Filipinos were crushed when the Japanese bombed their houses. Scots and Japanese and Indians and Canadians and Malays and Norwegians and Nigerians and … The list is too long.

    And the survivors wept and grieved for their families and friends. But most of them did not demand that the rest of the world treat their grief as special. They recognized that other people had their own losses, and did not keep pushing their grief into the faces of the world. They remembered and honoured the dead, but they did not try to foist that grief onto children who were born long afterwards. They were prepared to let old griefs fade, for all too soon the young would have their own griefs.

    And they did. The world has not been short of miseries since.

    So if you must weep for an old calamity, weep for all those killed in the Second World War. For all 70+ million of them. And then weep for all those who have been slaughtered since. Weep for humanity.

    But please, please, stop banging on about the Holocaust.

    • Walid says:

      Thanks, RoHa, that’s how I feel but as an Arab I can’t express such thoughts as it would be automatically taken the wrong way. I regret the killing of millions of Jews, but I refuse being made to feel guilty for it.

    • Ellen says:

      As long as there is profit, enterprise and political gain with the Holocaust, we will continue to hear about it. It is a tragic exploitation of the victims of the Holocaust, rendering them instruments of gain.

    • Sammar says:

      Excellent post, RoHa – thank you.

      There are very few people left who were either victims or perpetrators of “The Holocaust”. It was a terrible crime, and most people have all heard everything there is to hear about it. And we get it, so the Holocaust industry can give it a rest, maybe they should better worry why so many Holocaust survivors in Israel have been treated pretty shabbily by their government.

    • miriam6 says:

      Roha@;

      For sanity’s sake, can you not give it a flaming rest?But please, please, stop banging on about the Holocaust.

      Sigh..

      In the first place this website claims to view events in the Middle East from a Jewish perspective..

      Secondly the history of the Holocaust is absolutely relevant to the IP conflict for many reasons.

      Not least is the fact that the state of Israel would not exist without the Holocaust.

      Zionism would not have existed at all without the murderous hatred of Jews that was present in Europe as recorded by the Dreyfus Affair in France and later the genocidal anti – Semitism of the Nazi’s and the failure of European society to allow Jews to integrate into their European countries of birth.

      Another aspect is that Palestinians have been made to pay through the loss of their land for the crimes of which they are not guilty – that is those crimes the Europeans committed against Jews.

      So, just TWO reasons why discussion of the Holocaust cannot be overlooked.

      Thirdly — If you are to complain to anyone at all you ought to complain to the folks who run MW.

      THEY are the ones ‘banging on and on’ about the subject of Rouhani and the Holocaust- not the Jews.

      If YOU are to complain then complain to Mondoweiss who have chosen to beat the subject to death by devoting no fewer than FOUR separate threads and articles to this.

      I myself have complained about this overkill twice in these comments.

      link to mondoweiss.net
      link to mondoweiss.net

      I’m fed up to the back teeth with all this Hobson-Jobson about the Holocaust.

      May I remind you again- it is Mondoweiss who are ‘pushing’ this issue with no fewer than FOUR threads about it.

      So Go criticise THEM!

      Apparently you must be happy with the overkill coverage of this issue on MW as it pertains to the Zionist/ Israel bashing component.

      But you expect simultaneously to be allowed to be thoroughly hypocritical in your criticism of those raising the issue of the other component of the Rouhani/ Holocaust FOUR threads which is the Holocaust

      You are a hypocrite.

      • RoHa says:

        I’m complaining to everyone in the world – Jew and non-Jew – who keeps whining about it. That includes the people who make the tedious films, the people who make the Holocaust denial laws, the people who set up the Holocaust museums, the people who insist on grilling Iranian leaders about it, and some of the writers and commenters on Mondoweiss.

        We know that the Holocaust was a factor in the creation of Israel. We don’t need any more than a mention of that. And as seldom as possible.

        “Apparently you must be happy with the overkill coverage of this issue on MW …”

        So happy that I wrote a post asking everyone to shut up about it.

        “You are a hypocrite.”

        You’ve said that before. I really don’t know why. According to the One True Dictionary* a hypocrite is “a hypocritical person”, “a person who indulges in hypocrisy”, and hypocrisy is “the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more noble beliefs than is the case”, “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense”.

        So exactly how am I hypocritical? Please spell out which standards and beliefs I pretend to. You can check my previous posts on the Holocaust here.

        link to mondoweiss.net

        and, in particular, this one.

        link to mondoweiss.net

        Perhaps you should find out what “Hobson-Jobson” means. I’m sure you’ll be able to get really indignant over that.

        (*http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/hypocrite
        link to oxforddictionaries.com
        link to oxforddictionaries.com
        link to oxforddictionaries.com)

    • just says:

      ((RoHA)).

      Well said, indeed.

    • RoHa can say whatever he wants to say wherever he wants to say it, but, I think his comment would be more in place at some other thread. Such as when the youngster raises the issue of the Holocaust when describing the reason for the need for a Jewish state, without any prompting, then it is appropriate to say, “never mention the holocaust again, because you are offending my sensitive ears”, which is the essence of RoHa’s statement.

      But here the question was Holocaust denial and the one who raised the topic was Mr. Ahmadinejad and Mr. Shiraz who finds Mr. Ahmadinejad’s statements innocuous. So it was the Holocaust deniers who raised the topic this time and as such it seems not quite the place to tell those who answer the deniers, that we must shut up.

      • RoHa says:

        “I think his comment would be more in place at some other thread.”

        Quite possibly. There are plenty to choose from.

        ‘ “never mention the holocaust again, because you are offending my sensitive ears”, which is the essence of RoHa’s statement. ‘

        Read it again. I am not sensitive, and difficult to offend. But I do get fed up with people trotting out the same tedious lines.

        And it was Christiane Amanpour who raised the topic of Holocaust denial.

      • eljay says:

        >> Such as when the youngster raises the issue of the Holocaust when describing the reason for the need for a Jewish state, without any prompting, then it is appropriate to say, “never mention the holocaust again, because you are offending my sensitive ears” …

        Perhaps “it offends my sensitive ears” is not the best way to rebut the youngster’s indoctrination-based and -fuelled claim that the Holocaust in any way justified or justifies the “need” for or the creation of a supremacist “Jewish State”.

  5. subconscious says:

    Ridiculous article by a dishonest author. Lets look at the evidence Nima Shirazi (NS) brandishes for his claim that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (MA) had acknowledged Nazi genocide against Jews and was more or less saying the same thing that Rouhani’s administration is saying, and then look at the evidence he deliberately omits. First note that, contrary to his conventional practice of disputing translations of IRI statements and going to the original Persian source for accurate translation, the author’s links are either to American & Israeli, or non-existent sources. Shirazi refers to MA’s Columbia U. speech and quotes WaPo’s translation referring to “My first question was if — given that the Holocaust is a present reality of our time, a history that occurred, why is there not sufficient research that can approach the topic from different perspectives?” But 1st part of MA’s speech in the original Persian is @ link to aparat.com where the referenced quote is around 22:00 min, “My 1st question was that if Holocaust is an historical event, why don’t they allow researchers to research on it?” There’s no reference to “present reality of our time, a history that occurred,” but the usual “even if it’s true, why not allow researching it?” Shirazi then quotes from the same source, though mistakenly links to another site, “I am not saying that it didn’t happen at all. This is not that judgment that I am passing here. I said … granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people?” The original Persian is around 7:30 min in the 2nd part @ link to aparat.com “I’m not saying it didn’t ‘hap’ [doesn't complete the phrase "didn't happen"], I’m not judging. In the 2nd question I made the assumption that it has happened and I said let’s assume it happened, what does it have to do w/ the people of Palestine?”

    Shirazi then quotes MA from Ynet in 2006, “Don’t you think that continuation of genocide by expelling Jews from Europe was one of their [the Europeans'] aims in creating a regime of occupiers of Al-Quds?” and claims that this is a clear affirmation of the Nazi genocide. Again going to the original Persian, which NS has done when it’s suited his purpose in the past but not now, @ link to news.gooya.com in the last paragraph, MA actually says, “A question has occurred to me which I now present: don’t you think that by establishing the fabricated regime of ‘occupation of Jerusalem’ and moving the Jews of Europe there is a sort of continuation of the same antisemitism, meaning that their goal was the expulsion of Jews from Europe and a sort of ethnic and religious cleansing?” There is no reference to a Nazi genocide or Holocaust against the Jews, but “traditional European antisemitism” and cleansing of Jews from that continent. But we shall see how MA maintains that view.

    The author then refers to MA’s letter to Merkel through a dysfunctional link, where MA allegedly acknowledges “past wrongs.” The original letter can be found @ link to vista.ir where MA states,
    “For a while I have been thinking, why today some nations who can, and their history shows that in the past they have been able to, play important and prominent roles in material and spiritual advancement of humanity in various scientific, artistic, literary, philosophic and political arenas and be civilization-makers, are not permitted, as a great nation, to be proud of their historical achievements in a worthy manner and correctly play their constructive role on the global stage. Rather they [WWII victors] try to constantly maintain a black cloud of humiliation and disgrace and apology over their [Germans'] head. And even more unfortunate is that some officials and managers of that nation consider this situation worthy of themselves and their nation and defend it. Isn’t this one of the wonders of the world today? Propaganda efforts since the second world war have been so extensive that some of them have believed that they are the historical culprits and have to pay for the sins of their fathers for consecutive generations till an undetermined time … I do not intend to review the subject of Holocaust here. But isn’t it logical that some victorious countries in the war have intended to create an excuse based on which they would constantly keep the people of the defeated country apologetic in order to weaken motive, movement and elation in them and pose a barrier to the advancement and deserved power of that country. In addition to the people of Germany, the people of the ME and, in fact, all of humanity have suffered losses from presenting the topic of Holocaust … The question is that if these countries, and in particular England, feel responsibility vis-a-vis Holocaust survivors, why didn’t they provide them a refuge in their own country and why, by starting the current of antisemitism, forced them to emigrate to the lands of others, and with the excuse of housing Holocaust survivors, they encouraged Jews worldwide to emigrate, and today an important part of the inhabitants of the occupied lands are non-European Jews …” According to Shirazi, Ahmadinejad advising Merkel that German leaders have to realize that Germany has been victimized and should not be apologetic for its past, but rather proud of it, is evidence of “acknowledgement of past wrongs.”

    But what does Shirazi leave out? Whatever doesn’t suit his deceptive narrative. Here’s MA in a 2012 Tehran interview w/ the German public TV as quoted at the official Iranian presidency website (with all the grammatical errors) @ link to president.ir “How did this nation, this regime came to be? It was a colonialist planning, everyone knows that it created by a lie … They have invented a story with the title Holocaust … President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a “lie” and accusing Zionist regime of using it to suppress Palestinians. Zionist regime statehood “was a colonialist plan that resulted from a lie,” … Responding to this question, is that the reason that you once said “This country will vanish from the map?”President said we said that occupation and crimes have to be stopped and prevented lies.” Ahmadinejad, it seems, feels a responsibility to instruct and correct Germans on their recent history. In his 2009 Quds day speech MA noted
    link to tabnak.ir
    “After the 2nd world war they claimed that during this war the adventure of Holocaust has taken place and claimed that a large number of Jews have been killed in the ovens. In fact, they instituted 2 slogans; one is the the victimhood of the Jewish nation with complicated propaganda lies and plots and the creation of the psychological atmosphere that they are victims, and second that they need an independent land … During the past 4 years I have discussed topics regarding their fake victimhood, but here I want to point out how rooted and fabricated this victimhood is … Why don’t you allow uncovering the secret of this [Holocaust] adventure and for truth and reality to be revealed?” Yet another example of his acknowledgement of the “fabricated Jewish victimhood.”

    Or consider this 2013 article in an Iranian news site, titled “Renewed defense of the president [Ahmadinejad] of the slogan of Holocaust denial/people’s farewell with Ahmadinejad,” which quotes MA’s 2011 Quds Day speech as “All the preludes to the establishment of this regime were based on lying and deception and one of these grand lies is the myth of the Holocaust.” To let MA summarize it himself, in a July 2013 official farewell event in his honor, he insisted
    link to youtube.com
    “The topic of Holocaust demolished the spine of the capitalist regime b/c it was the only remaining sacred element in the capitalist regime. God is not sacred there, the prophet is not sacred, values are not sacred. They were all prejudiced on one topic and no one should enter it. We are, like you, a Baseeji [those who would sacrifice for the cause]. We entered it head on [chuckles].” In other words, till the waning days of his presidency, MA was quite proud of his Holocaust denial, considering it a decisive blow, presumably to the “capitalist regime.” Somehow Shirazi has not yet come across these sources. Maybe this knowledgeable author should contact MA’s rivals in the presidential elections of (the disputed) 2009 and 2013 and correct them on their rejection of MA’s Holocaust denials during the debates and interviews. Apparently, they had misunderstood Ahmadinejad.

    And then there is the whole Holocaust-denial industry that MA’s presidency unleashed in Iranian media and officialdom that we won’t get into. But since the author mentions the Holocaust cartoon contest that was ushered following the Danish newspaper’s Mohammad cartoons, here are 20 short wonderful animations, tastefully named “Holocartoons,” that the organizers of that contest have proudly provided for public viewing: link to youtube.com…3432.4845.0.5002.9.9.0.0.0.0.216.816.4j4j1.9.0…0.0…1ac.1.11.youtube.ze39GMOpDcM
    Basically, don’t miss any opportunity, no matter how unrelated, to deliver yet another blow to the “capitalist regime” by mocking the “fabricated Jewish victimhood” and suffering.

    Shirazi quotes Velayati regarding the Holocaust, but why waste time w/ the underlings when the alpha man, the Supreme Leader, himself can provide guidance. Here’s Khamenei at a 2012 gathering of the clerics of the Assembly of Experts
    link to nasrtv.com
    which is conveniently translated at Khamenei’s official English site link to english.khamenei.ir
    as “When a person expresses his objection to the myth of Holocaust and announced that he does not believe it, they throw him into prison. They sentence him to prison for denying a fictitious event. Even if we assume that the event is not fictitious, even if we assume that it is a true story, is it a crime to deny a true historical event? If a person is not convinced of the truth of the Holocaust and he denies the story or expresses doubt about it, he is thrown into prison. This is what they are doing in the European countries that claim to be civilized. If somebody protests the Holocaust, expresses doubt about it or denies it, European courts convict him in a court of law. However, when they openly insult the Holy Prophet of Islam (s.w.a.), that prominent man of the entire history of mankind, when they insult what 1.5 billion Muslims hold sacred, nobody is allowed to protest against their actions. Notice how wrong and disgraceful their frameworks are.”

    Shirazi further claims that the “alleged” Holocaust denial is always accompanied by asserting the Palestinians’ innocence in that even-if-we-assume-it’s-true event. But such denial is usually accompanied by a whole narrative of history. Take for example one of MA’s finest moments, his 2012 Quds Day speech. Real-time translation of it is provided courtesy of Iran’s state PressTV @
    link to shiatv.net
    Starting around 11:25 min, follows his dialog on the “Zionists,” which takes over half of the speech. I won’t bother quoting verbatim, but a synopsis of it would be that “Zionists” for the past 2000 years have been responsible for the worst crimes against humanity, including slavery, colonialism (not just in Palestine), the 2 world wars, and much of current poverty and misery in the world. The “Zionists” dominate the world banking system, media and governments. But what is noteworthy here is that Shirazi made a post at his website @ link to wideasleepinamerica.com about this speech. The author, who routinely demands accuracy in quoting Iranian officials and presents sometimes-multiple translations to that effect, somehow completely overlooks posting a single translation of this speech and instead quickly veers off into “Israeli Apartheid.”

    On the lunatic and Protocols-of-the-Elders-inspired views of history, there have been many “historical documentaries” presented in Iranian state media, esp. during MA’s presidency, elaborating and expanding on the views similar to the above speech of MA, which are available on the web. In fact, Ahmadinejad’s vice president and close adviser, Mohammad Reza Rahimi, gave this lesson on “Zionist” mischief at an international conference: link to irandailybrief.com

    My issue here is not so much the pronouncements of IRI officials. But rather standards of honesty and accuracy that progressives demand and claim to uphold, but segments of which, with utmost hypocrisy, flush ‘em down the toilet when it doesn’t suit their preconceived narratives. Do those who engage in such deception, and, in the case of Shirazi, act as shills for the most lunatic and racist segments of Iranian gov’t (rejected even by other segments of the same regime), expect to be taken seriously? And a question to editors of this site, using Ahmadinejad’s favorite rhetorical/logical conditional: even assuming that (in a parallel universe) your go-to guy on Iranian affairs is a reliable and honest observer of such matters, do you really believe that always relying on the same person on such issues is providing the best understanding for your readers? Wouldn’t some modicum of diversity of views be beneficial when it comes to a large country, diverse and complicated as Iran?

    • subconscious says:

      In the post above I made a reference to Shirazi’s webpage on Ahmadinejad’s 2012 Quds Day speech @ link to wideasleepinamerica.com and stated that he “completely overlooks posting a single translation of this [MA's] speech.” Technically, NS quotes 1 line from that speech, regarding Zionist regime as an insult to humanity, presumably from English sources and w/o any links. No other quotes from that speech are entertained. By veering off into the topic of Israeli Apartheid, he’s apparently implying that Ahmadinejad is on par w/ anti-Apartheid activists, completely ignoring and hiding from his readers the Protocols-of-the-Elders message of the speech.

      I should add that, contrary to what’s attributed to Rosen in this post, I am not suggesting that editors of this site, or even Shirazi, are Holocaust deniers/revisionists themselves. The issue is honesty and accuracy by so-called progressives who adamantly present themselves as flag bearers of such standards.