Netanyahu: States Taking Part in Iran Conference Forgot Lessons of the Holocaust

Speaking with visiting German official, PM denounces Non-Aligned Movement conference in Tehran, calling it a 'disgrace and a stain on humanity.'

The nations taking part in the Non-Aligned Movement conference hosted by Iran prove that many in the international community have not learned the lessons of the Holocaust, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

Netanyahu's comments came after, earlier in the day, news network Khabar quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi as calling on NAM member states o to push for opening a war tribunal against Israel.

Salehi further called on NAM to form a committee for securing the rights of the Palestinians. Iran also announced plans to propose the formation of a Non-Aligned Movement troika, plus two neighbor states, to help settle the Syria crisis.

Speaking during a meeting with Minister-President of the German state of Lower Saxony David McAllister in Jerusalem later Wednesday, Netanyahu denounced the summit in Tehran as a "disgrace and a stain on humanity," saying that the conference proved that "many in the international community have learned nothing" after the Holocaust.

The premier indicated at the opening of his meeting that following the Second World War the world united to prevent another Holocaust, saying "alliances were forged to fight genocide and the United Nations was formed."

"But today, there are more than 120 nations in Tehran, where the regime denies the Holocaust and is working to annihilate the Jewish state," the PM said, adding that the Iranian government abuses its citizens, "cooperates with the slaughter of innocents in Syria, and calls for death to American and death to Israel."

Netanyahu added that he was "happy that Germany had refused to take part in this charade, and denounces it."

The premier's comments came following a media campaign launched by Israel and intended at preventing UN chief Ban Ki-moon from visiting the NAM conference in Tehran.

However, Ban succeed in jolting his Iranian hosts Wednesday by pointing out "serious concerns" in Tehran's human rights record and urging cooperation with the world body to improve freedoms.

The UN chief had signaled he would not shy away from criticism of Iran during his visit to the Non-Aligned Movement gathering in Tehran, but the sharp comments appeared to catch Iranian officials off guard just hours after his arrival.

"We have discussed how United Nations can work together with Iran to improve the human rights situation in Iran. We have our serious concerns on the human rights abuses and violations in this country," he told a news conference as he sat next to Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, who frowned at the remarks.

Iran's opposition groups had urged Ban to use his appearance in Tehran as a platform to criticize Iran's ruling system over its crackdowns on political dissent, including the house arrests of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi.

While in Tehran, Ban also could raise sensitive issues such as demands by UN nuclear inspectors for wider access to various sites, including a military base near Tehran suspected of being a proving ground for explosives experiments that could be used to test nuclear triggers. Iran denies it seeks nuclear arms, but Western nations and allies fear Tehran's uranium enrichment labs are moving close to warhead-grade material.

Benjamin Netanyahu - Emil Salman - 7.2012
Emil Salman