[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Saturday, 11 February 2006, 20:04 GMT
Iran Jews express Holocaust shock
By Sadeq Saba
BBC News

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Iranian president is accused of ignorance and political prejudice
The chairman of Iran's Jewish Council has strongly criticised the country's hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for saying the Holocaust was a myth.

In a letter to the president, Haroun Yashayaei said the leader's remarks had shocked the international community and caused fear in Iran's Jewish community.

Mr Yashayaei described the Holocaust as one of the most obvious and sad events in the 20th Century.

Six million Jews were killed in Nazi persecution during World War II.

This is the first time that a senior Iranian Jewish leader has openly criticised President Ahmadinejad for denying the Holocaust.

In his strongly-worded letter, Mr Yashayaei asked the president how he could justify what he termed the crimes of Hitler.

Political prejudice

Mr Yashayaei said the Holocaust was a fact of history and not a myth and accused the Iranian president of ignorance and political prejudice.

An Iranian Jew lights candles of the Menorah
Iran's small Jewish community is recognised by the Islamic Republic

Iran's small Jewish community of about 30,000 is recognised by the Islamic Republic and there is even a Jewish member of parliament.

Iranian Jews normally do not interfere in political issues and they often support the country's stance on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In a gesture of loyalty to the Islamic Republic, Mr Yashayaei told the Iranian president that his comments on the Holocaust were against the teachings of the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini.

The letter was apparently sent about a week ago and there is no news whether President Ahmadinejad has responded to it.


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific