- Andrew HollingerDirector, Communications202.437.1221
WASHINGTON, DC—As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani prepares to address leaders from around the world at the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum calls on the international community to condemn the Iranian state’s continuing promotion of Holocaust denial and antisemitism.
“The Iranian state has a long-standing pattern of promulgating Holocaust denial on a global stage, which incites violence, promotes hatred, and stokes antisemitism. Most recently, it has sponsored a series of exhibitions across Iran of cartoons distorting or mocking the Holocaust. Additionally, senior Iranian leaders have demonized Israel and called for its elimination. The UN and international leaders at the General Assembly have an obligation to clearly denounce these actions,” said Tad Stahnke, director of the Museum’s Initiative on Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism.
The Museum is greatly concerned about the global rise in antisemitism and Holocaust denial, in the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere.
“President Rouhani should face hard questions from global leaders. Ultimately, antisemitism poses a threat to all peoples and societies,” continued Stahnke. “Hatred, once unleashed, can rapidly spread. We must combat it wherever and whenever it arises.”
Even as Iran seeks closer ties with other countries, top Iranian leaders continue to promote Holocaust denial while restricting access to accurate information. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei continues to publicly question the Holocaust, including on January 27, 2016, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when he questioned the Nazi mass slaughter of six million Jews during World War II in a video titled “Holocaust: Are the Dark Ages Over?” Khamenei remarked, “It is not clear whether the core of this matter [i.e., the Holocaust] is clear or not. Even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened.” The Holocaust cartoon contest exhibition held in May 2016 in Tehran—which was followed by similar exhibitions in several provinces around the country—relied on the political and financial support of Iran’s security agencies as well as the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.