Iranian Holocaust conference starts

11th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 December 2006, Teheran (dpa) - A controversial two-day "Holocaust conference" opened Monday in the Iranian capital Tehran with Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki defending the parley against Western critics. "We only want to clear up a part of the history during World War Two, and yet we are described by the West as supporters of the Nazis and as anti-Semites," Mottaki said in his opening speech. "We want to examine what really happened then, since in the end the Holocaust led to a land without a people

11 December 2006

Teheran (dpa) - A controversial two-day "Holocaust conference" opened Monday in the Iranian capital Tehran with Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki defending the parley against Western critics.

"We only want to clear up a part of the history during World War Two, and yet we are described by the West as supporters of the Nazis and as anti-Semites," Mottaki said in his opening speech.

"We want to examine what really happened then, since in the end the Holocaust led to a land without a people and a people without a land," the Iranian foreign minister said.

The conference got underway without Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedenijad - who in the past angered world opinion by calling the Holocaust a myth - taking part. But he was expected to hold a personal reception for the conference participants later Monday or on Tuesday.

Mottaki called the conference a novelty in what he called the objective study of the Holocaust and suggested that for the future, a fact-finding commission could be set up to study the question.

The conference came after a considerable controversy ahead of time with the Iranian government saying it wanted to assess the magnitude of the Holocaust and whether the Nazis really used gas chambers to kill Jews.

More than 60 foreign guests from 30 countries are attending the event. Reports in Tehran said that among others, there were eight rabbis attending, six from the United States and two from Austria.

Tehran insists delegates are drawn from the historical, scientific and research fields.

The conference has been condemned internationally.

"This meeting is really focused on highlighting those people who deny that there was, in fact, a Holocaust," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday.

"So in that regard, it's just yet another disgraceful act on this particular subject by the regime in Tehran."

The German government on Friday summoned the Iranian charge d'affaires in Berlin to raise its objections.

Iran's Foreign Ministry on Sunday said the conference was not politically motivated and participants would "simply investigate this theme scientifically."

Two guests from Germany were officially invited to the conference. But a Foreign Ministry spokesman told dpa that six further Germans had arrived in Tehran as simple tourists and had been issued visas at the airport. The German government did not know the identity of the six, the spokesman said.

Holocaust is the term generally used to describe the systematic mass murder of some six million Jews in concentration camps around Nazi-occupied Europe during World War II. In Germany, denial of the Holocaust is a crime.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article