Iran's Supreme Leader Denies Holocaust
Ayatollah reiterates belief in speech for new year
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2014 1:52 PM CDT
Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in Mashhad, Iran, on March 21.   (AP Photo/Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader)

(Newser) – So much for the moderate new Iran. The nation's supreme leader today marked the start of the Persian New Year by denying the Holocaust, reports Haaretz. "The Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and, if it happened, it's uncertain how it happened," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a crowd in Mashhad. Khamenei has said similar things in the past, and former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad nearly made a sport of it, but the anti-Israel rhetoric had cooled considerably under new President Hasan Rouhani, notes the International Business Times.

In fact, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif asserted in September that Iran had never denied the Holocaust and was never "against Jews." The ayatollah brought up the matter as a way of criticizing the West: "They passionately defend their red lines," he said. "How [do] they expect us to overlook our red lines that are based on our revolutionary and religious beliefs?"