TEHRAN, (Reuters) – Iran”s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that the Holocaust was a myth, reiterating a view that has caused international uproar and drawn a rebuke from the United Nations Security Council.
Ahmadinejad had first suggested that the killing of six million Jews by the Nazis was a legend last week, drawing international condemnation.
"They have fabricated a legend under the name ”Massacre of the Jews”, and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves," he told a crowd in the southeastern city of Zahedan on Wednesday.
The speech was broadcast live on state television.
Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guardsman who was elected president in June, in October called Israel a "tumour" which must be "wiped off the map", provoking a diplomatic storm and stoking up fears about Iran”s nuclear ambitions.
Washington accuses Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons. Iran denies any atomic arms ambitions.
European diplomats say Ahmadinejad”s Holocaust comments make it harder for them to negotiate directly with Iran over the country”s nuclear programme.
Israel”s Foreign Ministry said Ahmadinejad”s comments on Wednesday showed Iran”s "rogue regime" was acting outside acceptable international norms.
"The combination of extremist ideology, a warped understanding of reality and nuclear weapons is a combination that no-one in the international community can accept," said spokesman Mark Regev. Historians have said that Ahmadinejad sees himself as a
popular, pan-Islamic leader in the mould of Ayatollah Ruhollah
Khomeini in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Tehran-based political analyst Mahmoud Alinejad said the
president could feel his speeches were winning Iran diplomatic
"There is a perception, based on past experience that only
when Iran threatens and pushes does the West back off," he said.
Ahmadinejad accused the Israeli government and its allies of
hypocrisy and reiterated his view that Israel should be moved
from "dear Palestine" to Europe, America or Canada.
"If your civilisation consists of unjust acts, oppression
and poverty for the majority of the globe to provide your own
people welfare, then we shout at the top of our voices that we
hate your frail civilisation," he added.
This was greeted by rapturous cries of "God is the Greatest"
from the crowd.