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May 8, 2016 6:36 am

Iranian FM’s Denial of Government Connection to Holocaust Cartoon Competition False, Says Contest Organizer

avatar by Lea Speyer

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This Holocaust-themed cartoon by Abdellah Derkaoui won first prize at last year's international competition. Photo: Wikipedia.

This Holocaust-themed cartoon by Abdellah Derkaoui won first prize at last year’s international competition. Photo: Wikipedia.

Claims made by Iran’s foreign minister that his government has no official connection to an Iranian Holocaust cartoon contest are false, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reported on Thursday.

According to the report, Massoud Shojaei Tabatabaei, secretary of the Holocaust International Cartoon Contest, admitted in an April 27 interview with the Iranian website Nasimonline that his organization “cooperates with the Ministry of Culture.”

Tabatabaei’s comment contradicts those made by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, when he told The New Yorker magazine in April that “it’s not Iran” hosting the contest, rather an NGO that is “not controlled by the Iranian government. Nor is it endorsed by the Iranian government.” As The Algemeiner reported, Zarif said the organizing NGO “doesn’t need a permit to hold the function,” adding, “We need to issue visas for people who come in, and we take into consideration that people who have preached racial hatred and violence will not be invited.”

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According to Tabatabaei, the Iranian government “knows that this exhibition is highly respected. Therefore, the foreign minister’s statements are not in line with the Ministry of Culture.”

Exiled Iranian journalist Aida Qajar called out Zarif’s and the Iranian regime’s denial of associating with the contest, writing on the website IranWire, “It is true that [Iranian President] Hassan Rohani’s government is not directly and officially responsible for the exhibition. But if it seriously opposed it, the administration could refuse to issue a permit and deny visas to participants. Zarif once tweeted that ‘the man who denied [the] Holocaust is gone.’ But is Rohani’s government ready to tangle with the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards over this issue?”

The first Holocaust cartoon contest was held in 2006, under the sponsorship of then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, following the publication of Muhammad cartoons in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in September 2005. The second took place in 2015, under the auspices of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s (IRGC) cultural organization. The event was held after French publication Charlie Hebdo published caricatures of Mohammed. Both contests garnered international condemnation. 

The third Holocaust International Cartoon Contest will open in Tehran on May 14 and the first-place winner will receive a $50,000 cash prize.

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  • Michael David Collins-Frias

    Ministry of Culture duty uphold and bring respect upon ones national historic history, rich upon tradition, success or failure dependant upon nation whom seeks representation of their culture. Iran has long tradition currently of denial of facts, yet their revolutionary guard rose up against their monarch led rebellion toward a choice between monarchical law or their choice of government. We accept they chose religous representational governance which precludes total governance control with no representation and absolute authority over rights of citizens by right of religous authority. Culture within Iran, their history is their culture yet we are forbidden influence but required acceptance for their influence upon our view. I knew many artists fine and great, Sabzi, Hassan and so on they represent the culture of Iran and Persia. Persia a great nation in history, our choices today reflect our betrayal of our past accomplishments when we fail our culture. My great grandfather His Majesty Philip Edward Jehle Romanov a high king of Judea once gave everything for his belief and swore oath to fund Israel nation not nation of Judea but a nation of democracy. Culture is our history, when we fail to remember good or bad it is our failure. The State of Israel has King Edwards sovereignty and his money, all debts are owed to him from loans which assist nations with their cultural identity but Israel is acknowledged as owner, I am simply principle for his majesty my duty to remember sacrifices made to bring all nations closer toward cultural identity, remember history or we are doomed repeated failures. I hold no access nor need such access, my principle opinions are foundational upon building cultural awareness regardless of nation. Nations who fail toward protection of culture and bring destruction of national historical monuments will be found. Genocidal fanaticism toleration failures are results of ignorance. Ministers of culture whom fail toward protection of said culture your debts are due and collection commences. Federal Reserve controls my heritage trust, held as reserve funds. My views known, I live in poverty and suggest we all learn to live with less. Worse is yet to come, but preservation of culture is of grave concern to my view, I hold no authority or influence of position. No one recognizes my authority, I am unknown and nor should be. My duty is to provide reserve funds for the base function protection of economic security. I have never touched my inheritance it is what Israel, USA, France borrows upon toward UNESCO, SMF, RED, BLUE, BLACK, point simply being my inheritance supports all whom seek culture but not destruction of culture.

  • Peter Joffe

    Ministry of Culture?? The only culture in Iran is the culture of hate and death from the Quaran. Its long overdue that Iran set aside the Quran and enter the 21st Century as a contributor and not as an enemy.

  • Lia

    The man didn’t have to put his head on the block: we know the iranians lie.

  • stevenl

    Genocidal fanaticism is alive and well in Iran. Thank you.

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