Iran Blocked Holocaust Education Website Throughout 2014, U.S. Says

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Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses Iranian top officials in a mosque at his residence in Tehran, Iran, June 23, 2015.Credit: AP

Throughout 2014, Iran continued to block a website that provides information on the Holocaust and Jewish-Muslim relations, the U.S. State Department said Thursday.

In its annual report on human rights, the State Department said Iran's government kept blocking the Persian-language website of the Aladdin Project, a foreign-based non-governmental organization.

In November 2013, the report said, Iran's Fars News Agency published an article describing the website as a creation of “international Zionism” that sought “to recognize the Zionists’ fabricated narrative about the Holocaust, which will enable them to present the creation of [Israel] as both legitimate and necessary."

Questions over the history and uniqueness of the Holocaust continued into 2014, according to the report.

In May, members of the Islamic Consultative Assembly summoned Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and "criticized him for having called the Holocaust a 'tragedy' in an interview with a German television station."

Then, in a national address to mark the Persian New Year in March, "Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei asserted that the historical reality of the Holocaust was 'unknown' and questioned if it 'actually did happen.'"

The State Department added that while media reports estimated some 25,000 Jews reside in Iran today, a 2012 census put that figure at only 8,756.

The Aladdin Project was launched in March 2009 by the Paris-based Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah, under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Since then, according to the project's website, it has "been supported by more than 1,000 intellectuals, academics and public figures from over 50 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America. A number of world leaders and international bodies, such as the European Union, have also declared their backing for the project."

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