Bloomberg: Iran said the United Nations was being “manipulated for political purposes” in its first official observance today of the memory of the Holocaust. Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) — Iran said the United Nations was being “manipulated for political purposes” in its first official observance today of the memory of the Holocaust.
The UN’s 191 member governments agreed on Nov. 1 to make Jan. 27 the annual “International Day of Commemoration in Memory of Victims of the Holocaust.” The decision was taken by consensus in the General Assembly, which means Iran didn’t formally object or call for a vote on the resolution.
Iran’s mission to the UN explained its position on the measure in a note to the president of the General Assembly that was released today. While condemning genocide as a crime against humanity, the statement said “rendering political judgments on such events and closing the door to any scientific scrutiny” would impede efforts to prevent future atrocities.
“Regrettably, the Zionist regime has routinely attempted to exploit the sufferings of the Jewish people in the past as a cover for its crimes being perpetrated today against Palestinians in the occupied territories, including massacre,” the statement said. “The international community should take strong action against such atrocities of the Zionist regime and not allow it to manipulate humanitarian sentiments.”
The statement called for “scientific scrutiny” of genocide without “arbitrary restrictions.”
It didn’t repeat Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement on Dec. 14 that the Nazi Holocaust was a “myth.” He said in a speech that the West has “fabricated a myth under the name `Massacre of the Jews,’ and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves.”
Those remarks, coupled with Ahmadinejad’s earlier statement that Israel should be “wiped off the map,” caused an international outcry the U.S. used to support its call for UN action to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear program that might lead to production of atomic weapons.
Dan Gillerman, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, said the interest of Iran’s “lunatic” regime in genocide stemmed from a desire to “learn how it was perpetrated so it can carry out the next holocaust.”
He said Iran’s statement was “just another example of why the UN and especially the Security Council should urgently address the nuclear quest of Iran, because having weapons of mass destruction in the hands of this extremist regime would be a threat not just to Israel but to the whole international community.”
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who was in Zurich today on a European trip, delivered a statement to the General Assembly by a videoconference call that said the UN ceremonies were a “necessary rebuke to those who say the Holocaust never happened or has been exaggerated. Holocaust denial is the work of bigots. We must reject their false claims whenever, wherever and by whomever they are made.”
Iran’s mission to the UN didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.