Sunday, February 12, 2006

Iran Jews express Holocaust shock

Iran Jews express Holocaust shock
By Sadeq Saba

The chairman of Iran's Jewish Council has strongly criticised the country's hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for saying the Holocaust was a myth.

In a letter to the president, Haroun Yashayaei said the leader's remarks had shocked the international community and caused fear in Iran's Jewish community.

Mr Yashayaei described the Holocaust as one of the most obvious and sad events in the 20th Century.

Six million Jews were killed in Nazi persecution during World War II.

This is the first time that a senior Iranian Jewish leader has openly criticised President Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust.

In his strongly-worded letter, Mr Yashayaei asked the president how he could justify what he termed the crimes of Hitler.

Political prejudice

Mr Yashayaei said the Holocaust was a fact of history and not a myth and accused the Iranian president of ignorance and political prejudice.

Iran's small Jewish community of about 30,000 is recognised by the Islamic Republic and there is even a Jewish member of parliament.

Iranian Jews normally do not interfere in political issues and they often support the country's stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In a gesture of loyalty to the Islamic Republic, Mr Yashayaei told the Iranian president that his comments on the Holocaust were against the teachings of the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khamenei.

The letter was apparently sent about a week ago and there is no news whether President Ahmadinejad has responded to it.

Story from BBC NEWS: