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February 16, 2014 10:59 am

70 Iranian Lawmakers Want Zarif to Explain Why He Said the Holocaust ‘Should Not Happen Again’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif being interviewed on Germany's Deutsche Welle, broadcast on February 3, 2014. Photo: Screenshot / Deutsche Welle.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif being interviewed on Germany's Deutsche Welle, broadcast on February 3, 2014. Photo: Screenshot / Deutsche Welle.

Seventy Iranian lawmakers have signed a letter petitioning Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to explain recent statements on German television, where he indicated Iran’s willingness to recognize Israel and condemned the Holocaust, semi-official Press TV reported on Saturday, in an interview with an MP leading the petition against Zarif.

Zarif’s reconciliatory comments, which he later denied, shocked many in the Iranian Parliament.

“What is the reason for the passivity in your views about the issue of the illegitimate Israeli regime and the Holocaust,” the letter asked.

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“The question has been sent to the Foreign Ministry and it will be reviewed in the first session of the National Security [and Foreign Policy] Committee of Majlis,” Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Javad Karimi Qoddousi, who is on the committee, told Press TV on Saturday.

In the letter to the Foreign Ministry, Iranian legislators pointed to Zarif’s interview where he described the Holocaust as an event that was “tragically cruel and should not happen again.” He said, “We have nothing against the Jews. We do not feel threatened by anyone.”

According to a translation from Deutsche Welle, Zarif then said, “After the problem with the Palestinians is resolved, the conditions that will enable recognition of the State of Israel will be established.”

“If the Palestinians are happy with the solution, then nobody — nobody — could prevent that from happening,” he said, though he was speaking in the conditional tense, saying “that no acceptable agreement has been proposed thus far to the Palestinians.”

“The Palestinians need recognition and afterward it will be possible to discuss other solutions,” he said in the interview, which is partially available online.

At the time, Ghasem Jafari, a member of the Principalist faction in the parliament, said, “Zarif’s remarks are inconsistent with the principles upheld by the system, since Imam Khomeini (RA) believed that the Zionist regime was a malign tumor and the Leader believed it as ‘bastard.’ The Islamic Republic has expended great sums so that the Zionist regime would not be recognized.”

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