n an exclusive interview this morning on “This Week,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif condemned the Holocaust as a “heinous crime” and a “genocide,” dismissing as a poor translation the appearance of the word “myth” about the Holocaust on the Iranian Supreme Leader’s English website.
Iran has been criticized in recent years for the words of its former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who often denied the existence of the Holocaust, while the phrase “the myth of the massacre of Jews” appears in a translation of a speech from February 2006 by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamanei.
“The Holocaust is not a myth. Nobody’s talking about a myth,” Zarif told George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday when asked about the quote. “If it’s there … it’s a bad translation, and it’s translated out of context… This is the problem when you translate something from Persian to English, you may lose something, as the film goes, ‘Lost in Translation,’ you may lose some of the meaning.”
Zarif used his condemnation of the Holocaust to segue into a critique of Israel, which he characterized as the aggressor in the Middle East.
“We condemn the killing of innocent people, whether it happened in Nazi Germany or whether it’s happening in Palestine,” Zarif said. “[The] Holocaust was a heinous crime, it was a genocide, it must never be allowed to be repeated, but that crime cannot be and should not be a justification to trample the rights of the Palestinian people for 60 years.”
Zarif spoke on ‘This Week’ Sunday following a week of historic moments in U.S.-Iranian diplomatic relations, as new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani visited New York for the U.N. General Assembly.
On Friday, President Obama announced he had spoken on the phone with Rouhani, the first communication of its kind in more than three decades – an exchange first confirmed by the newly-elected Iranian president on Twitter. During an exclusive interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos two weeks ago, President Obama said he had exchanged letters with the Iranian president.
Zarif, who is serving as Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, met with his American counterpart Secretary of State John Kerry in New York Thursday. Both sides agreed the meeting was constructive, with plans for further talks next month in Geneva. see more