Amid U.S.-Iran Thaw |

Iranian Foreign Minister: The Holocaust Is No Myth

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

Iran's foreign minister said on Sunday that the "Holocaust is not a myth," and that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "rejects and condemns the killing of innocent people."

Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Javad Zarif was asked by host George Stephanopoulos about a statement appearing on the website of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, which refers in English to "the myth of the massacre of the Jews known as the Holocaust."

"This is the problem when you translate something from Persian to English," Zarif responded, according to the Huffington Post, "you may lose some of the meaning. This has unfortunately been the case several times over. The point is, we condemn the killing of innocent people whether it happens in Nazi Germany or whether it is happening in Palestine."

Zarif also spoke of the relations between Iran and the U.S, saying the Islamic Republic is willing to forgive Washington's history with Iran, but will not forget the decades of distrust between the two nations. He added that Tehran is open to negotiations with the U.S. over its nuclear program, but Washington must end its crippling sanctions.

According to Zarif, Iran is not developing a military nuclear program and has no desire for one. Israel has 200 warheads and is a "source of aggression, instability," he said.

When asked about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statement, which said that he would present the truth about Iran's nuclear ambitions to the world at the United Nations, "in the face of the sweet talk and the blitz of smiles" by Iranian President Hassan Rohani, Jarif answered: "a smile attack is much better than a lie attack."

"Netanyahu and his colleagues have been saying since 1991 that Iran is six months away from a nuclear weapon," he answered. "22 years after that and they are still saying we're six months away from nuclear weapons."

The foreign minister's comments follow a sudden thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations after decades as adversaries. President Barack Obama and Rohani spoke Friday by telephone, the first direct contact between the two countries' leaders in three decades.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, August 2013.Credit: AP
8 of 8 |
An Iranian Jewish man wearing a Tallit, reads the Torah during morning prayer at Youssef Abad synagogue in Tehran on September 30, 2013.Credit: AFP
1 of 8 |
Iranian Jewish Es'hagh Akhamzadeh locks the door housing the Torah scroll after placing it in inside the designated cupboard during morning prayers at Youssef Abad synagogue, Tehran.Credit: AFP
2 of 8 |
Iranian Jewish men read from the Torah scroll during morning prayers at Youssef Abad synagogue in Tehran on September 30, 2013.Credit: AFP