Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he would not allow his country to be damaged with statements about "Holocaust denial." Zarif made the comments during a May 6 session of parliament where hard-line lawmakers questioned him over his Holocaust remarks and other issues.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaking at the May 6 session of parliament
(read related article by Shargh daily)
"I will not allow the Zionist project of making Iran a security threat to be realized in the name of Holocaust denial," Zarif was quoted as saying by Iranian news agencies.
Unlike his predecessor Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who caused international outrage by denying the Holocaust, Iran's President Hassan Rohani has taken steps to ease tensions with other countries.
In a 2013 interview with the ABC network, Zarif had described the Holocaust as a "heinous crime."
Lawmakers played a clip of Zarif's interview and a clip of comments by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei who has in the past questioned the scope of the Holocaust.
Lawmaker Javad Karimi Ghodusi accused Zarif of making different comments inside and outside of Iran.
Zarif said he is working to make sure Iran is not viewed as a threat and as a country that disrupts peace in the region.
The Iranian Foreign minister accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of trying to inflame anti-Iran sentiments by linking Holocaust denial to Iran's nuclear program.
"Netanyahu shamelessly raises a hue and cry that Iran is denying the Holocaust and says that Holocaust-denying Iran is after creating another Holocaust by producing an atomic bomb," he said.
Iran says all its nuclear activities are peaceful.
Zarif said the foreign policy of Iran's government has robbed Netanyahu of peace of mind while adding that forces in the region, including Hamas and Hizballah, had thanked him for this "success".
After the questioning, lawmakers said they were "satisfied" with Zarif's explanation.
With reporting by Mehr, Fars and AP
Copyright (c) 2014 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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