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January 27, 2023 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1680

International Holocaust Remembrance Day In Iran: Iran's Islamic Regime Denies The Holocaust

January 27, 2023 | By A. Savyon and M. Manzour*
Iran | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1680

Introduction

The Iranian regime is known for its statements denying the Holocaust, and for organizing and encouraging activity promoting this denial – including via conferences, exhibitions, and cartoon contests. It also supports Holocaust deniers outside Iran.

While over the years Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has called the Holocaust a "myth" that never happened, in recent years, he and other Iranian regime spokesmen have adopted a more sophisticated approach. Along with expressing doubt about whether the Holocaust actually happened, they also call defiantly for allowing research to "determine" whether it did or not, and criticize the West for banning such research, particularly European countries where Holocaust denial is outlawed.

Khamenei's Holocaust denial statements have usually preceded Iranian national holidays such as the anniversary of the founding of the Islamic regime, in February, or the Persian New Year – Nowruz – in March. He also makes such statements in advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27 every year.

Such statements are also being made recently against the backdrop of blatant anti-Islam and anti-Khamenei cartoons published in France, in October 2020 and in the past month. Recently, Iranian regime representatives have protested that the West, and particularly France, were insulting Islam and Khamenei in the name of free speech. They say that the West must treat insulting things sacred to Islam in the name of free speech as it treats raising doubts about the Holocaust.

This report reviews MEMRI reports and MEMRI TV clips of Holocaust denial statements by Iranian regime officials and regime mouthpieces, and includes an Appendix of MEMRI reports and clips on this topic. MEMRI is also publishing an in-depth report on Holocaust denial in the Arab world. 

Khamenei Denies The Holocaust

Khamenei: "The West Allows No One To Question... The Myth Of The Massacre Of Jews Known As The Holocaust"

In a February 7, 2006 speech to Iranian Air Force officers, Khamenei said: "A more important issue is one that shames Western culture in terms of freedom of speech... This same freedom of speech – which they [i.e. the West] constantly champion – allows no one to question the issue of the myth of the massacre of the Jews known as the Holocaust. On this issue, there is no freedom of speech!"[1]

Khamenei Tweets Holocaust Denial: It Is "An Event Whose Reality Is Uncertain"

On March 21, 2014, Khamenei tweeted: "#Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it has happened, it's uncertain how it has happened"[2]


Twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/446928689943420928, March 21, 2014

In Video, Khamenei Denies Holocaust: "It Is Not Certain Whether The Holocaust Really Took Place – And Talking About The Holocaust And Raising Doubts About It Are Considered A Grave Sin"

Marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day in January 2016, Khamenei posted on his website English.khamenei.ir on January 27 a three-minute video titled "Are The Dark Ages Over?" In it he again raised doubts about whether the Holocaust had actually happened, and raged at Europe's criminalization of Holocaust denial. Accusing the West of hypocrisy for championing freedom of speech while preventing any discussion on the Holocaust, he called this silencing a conspiracy hatched with the Zionist regime.

The video features well-known European Holocaust deniers, among them Roger Garaudy, Robert Faurisson, and David Irving, and underlines their ostensible persecution by Western authorities.

To view this video on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

Khamenei: "Why Is Questioning The Holocaust A Crime... While Insulting The Prophet [Mohammad] Is Permitted?"

Following statements on October 27, 2020 by French President Emmanuel Macron supporting freedom of speech after the beheading of French high school teacher Samuel Paty for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class,[3] Khamenei responded the following day: "[Oh] young people of France! Ask your president why he supports insults against God's Prophet [Mohammad] and considers this to be freedom of speech. Does freedom of speech mean [freedom] to curse and insult [to Islam] – and with such self-righteousness? Does this stupid deed not insult the feelings of the nation that elected him president? The next question is, Why is doubt regarding the Holocaust a crime? And if anyone writes anything about this he must be imprisoned. But insulting the Prophet is allowed?"[4]

Kayhan Editor Shariatmadari Denies The Holocaust

Shariatmadari: "The Holocaust Is A Great Historical Lie, And Many Irrefutable Documents Show That This Zionist Myth Is A Fabrication; The West's Concern, Mixed With Fear, Lest Anyone Investigate The Holocaust Is The Clearest Evidence That It Is Indeed Fake"

The October 31, 2020 editorial of the regime mouthpiece Kayhan, written by Hossein Shariatmadari, editor in chief and Khamenei's representative at the newspaper, stated that the Holocaust is "a great lie" and "a fabricated Zionist myth," and that the ban on investigation aiming to disprove it actually proves that it is false. The editorial was in response to the statements by French President Macron defending the French magazine Charlie Hebdo's right to publish cartoons mocking religions and the right to talk about this issue in schools and to encourage public debate on social and religious issues considered offensive by Islamists. Shariatmadari also expressed his fury over what he called the West's sanctification of the right to harm things sacred to Islam in the name of free speech while at the same time rejecting such a right when it comes to the Holocaust of the Jews. The following is a translation of his article:

"In his recent announcement to the young people of France, the Leader [Khamenei] pointed to one of France's weakest points and challenged that country's and other European countries' false claim to democracy and free speech. He [Khamenei] told the young people of France: 'Ask your president why doubting the Holocaust is a crime, yet insulting the Prophet is allowed.' This question is wisely worded and double-sided, and both its sides are scandalous for France and its president, and it must be answered. 

"The Supreme Leader of the [Islamic] Revolution, [Ali Khamenei,] knows that his message will be spread across the world immediately after its publication. This means that his audience is not only the young people of France; however, [the Western media] have presented the young people of France as the message's audience. Mr. [Khamenei's] move is a clear and grave humiliation for the French president, and it means that the French president is aware of the evil of his own actions and thus is unworthy of having [Khamenei] address his message to him.

"The Holocaust is a great historical lie, and many irrefutable documents show that this Zionist myth is a fabrication. The West's concern, mixed with fear, lest anyone investigate the Holocaust is the clearest evidence that it is indeed fake, for if it were not, and if research could confirm it, the Western leaders and the Zionists would not fear people researching it and would invite everyone to do so. With his announcement, the [Supreme] Leader opened the black box of this great lie in front of the entire world. It is a shameful thing that the Zionists very much fear to open.

"In Kayhan in the past, we have addressed the many documents in reports on the fabrication of the Holocaust, and in this short [article] we will settle for lightly touching on it. In the early 1980s, several members of the international Jewish Agency, including [the historian] Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Serge Weils [sic], and [the historian] Francois Bedarida [sic], under the leadership of Rene-Samuel Sprat [apparently a reference to Rene-Samuel Sirat], the famous rabbi of France, drafted legislation based on the fabricated story about the massacre of six million Jews during World War II, according to which 'any questioning of the Holocaust – whether regarding the purported massacre of the Jews during World War II, the existence of gas chambers, or even mild doubt regarding the number of six million Jews who were killed – will be seen as a crime! Anyone breaking this law in France and doubting [any] of these three concepts will be imprisoned from one month to one year and pay a fine of 2,000 to 300,000 francs.'

"Subsequently, under pressure from America, England, France, and the international Jewish Agency, this law was passed also in other countries in Europe, such that today raising any doubt regarding the Holocaust is seen as a crime in Europe!

"To date, dozens of prominent European historians and hundreds of famous professors and experts well known in the research of historical documents have proven, absolutely scientifically with the presentation of documents regarding whose accuracy no expert can cast even the slightest doubt, that the story of the slaughter of six million Jews, the crematoria, the gas chambers, and everything that the Zionists claim in this matter is a utter lie and a fabricated story whose purpose is not only political but also criminal. Among [these experts and professors] we can note Professor Roger Garaudy; Professor Robert Faurisson; Professor [Theis] Christopherson, author of the famous book The Lie of Auschwitz [sic, The Auschwitz Legends: An Account of his Experiences], and the authors of hundreds of other scientific essays. Of these, the stories of Professor Robert Faurisson and Professor Roger Garaudy, both French, are up to date and are more instructive.

"Professor Robert Faurisson [was] a lecturer at the well-known University of Lyon in France and a senior expert of research and evaluation of historical documents and certificates, and had a global reputation. He collected his scientific and documented studies in a book called The Gas Chambers: Reality or Legend? [sic]. The book was also translated into Persian.

"[Faurisson] examined dozens of documents in this area, and during years of research visited all the centers where the Zionists claim [the slaughter took place], such as the gas chambers, the fabricated Dachau museum of the crematoria in Munich, and so on. He sat with hundreds of witnesses to speak with them in detail and scientifically, and, ultimately, with no analysis at all, and only according to the documents, showed that the story of the killing of the Jews in Nazi Germany was a great historical lie and a shameful misleading of public opinion.

"This is not too far from what is expected from the barbaric Zionists. For example, Faurisson pointed to the fabricated photographs of the gas chambers claimed by the Zionists, rejecting this claim and wondering whether the photos were real, while noting undeniable evidence: How can the German soldiers stand in rooms ostensibly full of lethal gas without covering their faces, noses, and eyes, and overseeing the execution of the doomed Jews? With regard to another photo showing a group of Jews surrounded by German tanks, that the Zionists claim [is authentic], [Faurisson] shows that the tanks in this photo were British, not German, and so on, by providing documents and legible and incontrovertible evidence.

"By raising this question, and declaring the absurdity of claims of freedom of expression on the part of the French government and other European governments, the Leader [Khamenei] is inviting European public opinion, and particularly that of the young people, to investigate the story of the so-called Holocaust. The end result will be the exposure of the fake myth of the Holocaust. This question by the leader does not stop with the [fact that] that the Holocaust is fake; it also raises doubts about the political independence of the French government and of other European governments [that consider] even doubts about the Holocaust to be a crime.

"These days, anti-Zionist sentiment has increased among the citizens of Europe, and demonstrations against the presence of Zionist Jews in the European governments' sensitive centers and decision-making centers have escalated. For example, one of the officially stated goals of the Yellow Vests movement in France is to remove the hands of the Zionists from the country's economic centers. Or, in Germany, in the Bundestag, comprising 598 members; Germany's Jewish population is 150,000 [yet] in this country's parliament, over 100 seats are held by Jews, most of whom are not even of German origin! Or, only yesterday [on October 30, 2020], the British Labor party, one of the country's leading parties, expelled Jeremy Corbyn, a prominent member and the party's former chairman who had won many fans for his protest against the Zionist regime. Now, these protests are coming together and apparently will spread more – Are Britain's affairs run by Israel?!

"The Leader's message also included another important point that should be considered a 'summary' and that clearly shows that the French president's problem is not defense of free speech, as he argues – because why is not only researching the Holocaust considered a crime, but also doubting the false number [six million] that the Zionists claim considered a crime?! In his brief announcement, Khamenei reveals the bitter reality: What worries and frightens the French president and the other Western governments is the increasing spread of the pure Islam of Mohammad that in the past 41 years [of Iran's Islamic regime] has narrowed the arena of the arrogant forces [i.e. of the West, led by the U.S.] and of the bloodthirsty, plundering Zionists, and that it [Islam] is going to break the heavens and prepare a new plan..."[5]

Shariatmadari: "If There's Freedom Of Speech In France, Why Is Doubting The Holocaust Myth – Or Even Expressing Doubt About The Number Of False Victims Announced By The Zionists – Not Only Banned, But One Word Uttered Or Written About This Means Imprisonment And Heavy Fines!"

In the January 7, 2023 editorial of Kayhan, editor Shariatmadari reiterated his denial of the Holocaust, after the French Charlie Hebdo weekly published cartoons depicting Supreme Leader Khamenei as a misogynist and oppressor of women because of his orders to suppress the hijab and antiregime protests in Iran. The following is an excerpt from the editorial:

"The French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which insulted the Prophet some years ago, recently made a new shameless move. While America and Europe received a powerful slap from the Iranian people for their sweeping support for the rioters and hired terrorists, the weekly again wickedly insulted the religious and national sanctity of the Iranian Muslim people [by mockingly and insultingly portraying Khamenei].

"Following this magazine's shameless insult, the [Iranian] Foreign Ministry summoned the French Ambassador and warned the [French] government. In response, the French government called for freedom of expression! It did not explain why, if there's freedom of speech in France, doubting the Holocaust myth – or even expressing doubt about the number of false victims announced by the Zionists – is not only banned, but one word uttered or written about this means imprisonment and heavy fines!..."[6]

Tasnim News Agency Cartoon: "In Europe's Brand Of Freedom Of Speech, No One Dares Criticize The Holocaust – While These Countries Insult The Faith Of Millions"

Against this backdrop, the Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), published a cartoon on January 9, 2023 titled "Charlie Hebdo's insult to [Khamenei's] religious authority is Satan's reactionary scenario." Under a depiction of Satan sitting in the shoulders of a Charlie Hebdo journalist and telling him to insult every country and religion other than Israel's,[7] the caption read: "Freedom of speech in the West is a lie. In Europe's brand of freedom of speech, no one dares criticize the Holocaust – while these countries insult the faith of millions in the name of free speech."


Tasneem, Iran, January 9, 2023.

January 2023: Iran's Channel 4 TV Presents Series Of Interviews In English With U.S. And British Holocaust Deniers And Conspiracy Theorists

On January 1, 2023, Iran's Channel 4, a Farsi channel, began airing a series of English-language interviews with U.S. and U.K. Holocaust deniers and conspiracy theorists from the U.S. and Britain, with the later addition of French. The interviews are subtitled in Farsi. The show airs four times a week and each interview is divided into two or three installments.

According to the show's introduction in Farsi, "the host is Arash Darya-Bandari. He is an author and translator and a researcher in the field of philosophy, and, like his father Najaf Darya-bandari, dedicated most of his professional life to translation work. He is a graduate of the University of Berkley [sic] and has spent many years as an academic in Western universities." Arash Darya-Bandari is also known as Blake Archer Williams.[8] According to online sources, Williams grew up in the U.S. in a Christian Iranian immigrant family, studied Islamic history at the University of California at Berkeley, converted to Shia Islam, and later emigrated to Iran; he has authored and translated over 50 books on Islam, particularly Shi'a Islam.[9] His biography on his page at Amazon.com states that he is currently working on "the political philosophy of Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the current Leader of the Revolution of the Islamic Republic of Iran."[10] In Iran, he was one of the organizers of the 2014 New Horizon conference[11] (see MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 5859, The Second International 'New Horizon' Conference in Tehran Draws Leading Holocaust Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, And BDS Activists From Around The World – And Is Backed And Supported By Iranian Regime) and was also a panelist at the 2018 conference.[12]

Holocaust-denying guests on the show so far have included British Holocaust denier Nicholas Kollerstrom, American Holocaust denier Ron Unz, British Bishop Richard Nelson Williamson, and American conspiracy theorist E. Michael Jones.

British Holocaust denier Nicholas Kollerstrom, Kollerstrom said on the show that it is time to put the "nightmare hallucination narrative" of the Holocaust "to bed," that the aim of "this holo-hoax tale" was to crush Germany's spirit, and that the Final Solution was aimed only at deporting wealthy and powerful Jews because the Germans didn't want the Jews controlling their media and their politics. He added that the gas chambers were "imaginary" and "phantasmal" and that Zyklon-B had only been used as a "normal" insecticide." In addition, he said that only around 40,000 Jews had died in Auschwitz as well as a total of about 200,000 in labor camps, and that Treblinka had only been a "transit camp" where the Jews were given a "shower" as they passed through.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

Another guest on the show, American Holocaust denier Ron Unz, argued that the Jewish-controlled Hollywood had introduced the concept of the Holocaust to the U.S. and that "Holocaust-worship," which is also called "Holocaustianity," has replaced traditional religion in the U.S.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

Bishop Richard Nelson Williamson, another guest, called the Holocaust a "myth," said that the Jews have replaced "objective" history with their "emotional scenario" about the Holocaust, and added that only around 100,000 Jews were actually killed. Mocking Holocaust survivors, he claimed that they say, "I was there, I saw it, when the Hungarians were being burned, it was green smoke, when the Czechs were being burned it was red smoke..."

In January 2019, the twice-excommunicated U.K.-based Catholic bishop Richard Williamson lost his appeal in the European Court of Human Rights against his 2010 conviction for inciting hatred. He was convicted based on Holocaust denial comments during a television interview that aired in Sweden in January 2009, in which he denied that millions of Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime, and stated that "the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler." It later emerged that Williamson also had a history of antisemitic remarks, including expressing his belief that the Holocaust was faked by the Jews as part of an effort to seize control of the world and replace Christianity.[13]

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

On the show on January 1, 2023, guest E. Michael Jones, an American conspiracy theorist, called the Holocaust the "founding myth of the American empire." In another interview on January 21, 2023, he claimed that Hollywood had created the Holocaust narrative, that Jews were not gassed in showers, but that since they had never seen a shower before they simply did not know what it was, and that Auschwitz had a swimming pool and other amenities to make life better for them.

To view the clip of E. Michael Jones' January 1 interview on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

To view the clip of E. Michael Jones' January 21 interview on MEMRI TV, click here or below:

* Ayelet Savyon is director of MEMRI's Iran Media Project; M. Manzour is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.

 

Appendix – MEMRI Reports On Holocaust Denial By The Iranian Regime

The following are some MEMRI reports and MEMRI TV clips from years past of Holocaust denial by the Iranian regime:

MEMRI Reports

MEMRI TV Clips

 

[1] Website of the Supreme Leader (Iran), February 7, 2006.

[2]Twitter.com/khamenei_ir/status/446928689943420928, March 21, 2014.

[3] In response to Paty's murder, Macron said that France "would not give up cartoons" and that Paty had been murdered because "Islamists want our future" (France24.com, October 21, 2020). He also pledged to fight the "Islamist separatism" spreading in some Muslim communities in France  (Reuters.com, October 27, 2020). Earlier that month, Macron had called Islam a "religion in crisis" (France24.com, October 2, 2020). 

[4] Website of the Supreme Leader (Iran), October 28, 2020.

[5] Kayhan.ir//fa/news, November 31, 2020.

[6] Kayhan.ir/fa/news, January 7, 2023.

[7] Tasnimnews.com, January 9, 2023.

[8] Asiatimes.com/2018/05/the-other-art-of-the-deal-tehran-style, May 18, 2018.

[9] Kevinbarrett.heresycentral.is/2020/04/simpson-williams, accessed January 23, 2023.

[10] Amazon.com/stores/author/B06XYVDHSB/about, accessed January 23, 2023.

[11] Crescent.icit-digital.org/articles/meeting-of-minds-in-tehran-ii, October 25, 2014; Dissidentvoice.org/2014/10/new-horizon-conference-meeting-of-minds-in-tehran, October 8, 2014.

[12] Veteranstoday.com/2018/05/17/jerusalem-al-quds-eternal-capital-of-palestine-conference-in-mashhad-iran, May 17, 2018.

[13] Catholicnewsagency.com/news/twice-excommunicated-bishop-loses-appeal-of-hate-speech-conviction-37268 Strasbourg, France, February 1, 2019; Adl.org/blog/bishop-richard-williamson-reiterates-Holocaust-denial-and-anti-semitism, November 19, 2018.

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