April 29, 2016
Washington – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum questions the Iranian Foreign Minister’s recent claim that the government has nothing to do with a Holocaust cartoon contest planned for May 2016.
The Museum notes that the organizations associated with the contest are sponsored or supported by government entities, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Ministry of Islamic Guidance. A previous contest in 2006 had the endorsement and support of government officials and agencies. There are reports in the Iranian press that the Ministry of Culture is asserting its support for the upcoming contest.
“The global community and the people of Iran deserve an unequivocal denouncement of this Holocaust cartoon contest,” said Tad Stahnke, Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Initiative on Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism. “Given the Iranian Government’s past involvement with these events and its history of restricting unsanctioned speech, it will take much more effort on its part to distance itself from this contest.”
The Museum urges global leaders to hold the Iranian government to Foreign Minister Zarif’s promise to deny visas to some contest participants and that neither he nor President Rouhani would attend the contest.
“We strongly encourage Zarif and other members of the Iranian government to condemn Holocaust denial and to allow Iranian citizens access to accurate information about the Holocaust,” Stahnke added. “Iran has its own World War II history, which includes being targeted by Nazi Germany for its resources; invasion and occupation by Allied forces; and for accepting over 20,000 Polish refugees and 1,000 Jewish children. Much of the Nazi propaganda broadcast to the region during this time is still resonating today and is being used by Iranian leaders to promote Holocaust denial and antisemitism.”
The Iranian government has consistently promoted Holocaust denial while restricting access to objective information. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei continues to publicly question the Holocaust, most recently on January 27, 2016, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, when he questioned the Nazi mass slaughter of more than six million Jews during World War II in a video titled “Holocaust: Are the Dark Ages Over?” Khamenei remarked, “No one in European countries dares to speak about the Holocaust, while it is not clear whether the core of this matter is clear or not. Even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened.”
For information in Farsi about the Holocaust: https://www.ushmm.org/fa
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