Iran Jewish Leader Criticizes Ahmadinejad for Lauding Holocaust Denial

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A Jewish leader in Iran has criticized outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over remarks doubting the extent of the Holocaust.

In remarks published in the pro-reform newspaper al-Shargh, Jewish community head Haroun Yashaei said: "Even at the end of his term in office, the president still insists that the Holocaust was a myth."

Ahmadinejad has frequently questioned the extent of the Holocaust over his 2005-2013 presidency, and made similar remarks at the weekend, calling for more academic research into the subject.

In a speech looking back at his time in office, Ahmadinejad described Sunday his denial of the Holocaust as one of his greatest achievements, the Fars news agency reported.

"That was a taboo topic that no one in the West allowed to be heard," he said, adding that he had enough courage to bring up the issue.

"That broke the spine of the Western capitalist regime," he added.

Since he was first elected in 2005, Ahmadinejad repeatedly threatened to destroy Israel and called the Holocaust a "fairy tale." His remarks led to a worldwide wave of condemnation.

About 6 million Jews were murdered in the systematic genocide that took place throughout Europe during World War II under German dictator Adolf Hitler. Holocaust denial is today illegal in Germany and other countries.

Iran is home to some 25,000 Jews, according to a census in 2009.

President-elect Hassan Rohani described Ahmadinejad's anti-Israel remarks as "hate rhetoric" that had brought the country to the brink of war.

Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, July 7, 2013.Credit: AFP

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