In a September 29, 2013 interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, in which Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was questioned about Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s statements that the Holocaust is a “myth,” Zarif claimed that Khamenei is not a Holocaust denier and that the statements – which can be found in English on his official English-language website – were a “bad translation” and “out of context.” Khamenei had made the statements in a February 2006 speech to Iranian Air Force officers.
However, a MEMRI investigation reveals that FM Zarif’s claim is false; in Khamenei’s original statements, which can be accessed on Khamenei’s official Persian-language website, Khamenei did indeed call the Holocaust a “myth.”
Furthermore, in mid-December 2013, Khamenei’s office re-released Khamenei’s 1998 statements of praise for the work of the late convicted French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, on the occasion of the anniversary of Garaudy’s 1998 trial in France.
Zarif: Khamenei’s Persian Statements Were Mistranslated Into English
Asked by Stephanopoulos about Khamenei’s February 7, 2006 statement that the Holocaust is a myth, which appears on Khamenei’s English-language website, Zarif said that in discussions of the Holocaust in Iran, no one refers to it as a myth, and that the statements attributed to Khamenei on the website were an English mistranslation of his statements in Persian. Zarif told Stephanopoulos: “The Holocaust is not a myth. Nobody’s talking about [it as] a myth… “If it’s there [in Khamenei’s website]… 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.”
Khamenei Refers To “The Myth Of The Jewish Slaughter Known As The Holocaust”
Despite Zarif’s claim that Khamenei’s statements had been mistranslated from the Persian, MEMRI found that not only does Khamenei’s original Persian statement appear on his Persian-language website, but that the English version on his English-language website is indeed an accurate translation – he did indeed refer to the “myth of the Jewish slaughter known as the Holocaust” (see Appendix for photo of the Persian statement).
The following is MEMRI’s translation of Khamenei’s statements on February 7, 2006 to Iranian air force officers:
“A more important topic 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 – does not permit anyone to question the topic of the myth of the Jewish slaughter known as the Holocaust. On this topic there is no freedom of speech!”
Khamenei Supports Holocaust Denier Roger Garaudy On Facebook, Twitter
On December 16, 2013, Khamenei’s office posted, on its Facebook and Twitter accounts, Khamenei’s Persian-language statements of praise for the late Roger Garaudy, the convicted French Holocaust denier, which Khamenei had made when the two met in 1998. The occasion for the republication of the statements was the anniversary of Garaudy’s 1998 trial; in its release, the office referred to Garaudy as “the Muslim French warrior.”
During his 1998 meeting with Garaudy, Khamenei said: “The struggle with the Zionists and their supporters is a great spiritual and divine duty. Your courage and tirelessness in this struggle are praiseworthy. Iran’s hostility towards the U.S. and Zionism are based on logical principles and Islamic foundations. There is no racial or religious fanaticism here, because if the U.S. was not arrogant and the Zionists had not committed such shameful crimes, we would not have taken such positions against them. We have no prejudices or negative view of the Jews. Jews live peacefully in Islamic Iran. The issue of the Zionists is separate from the issue of the Jews. The Zionists are just like the Nazis, and act in the same racist fashion.”
Khamenei’s Statements On His Farsi-Language Website: “The Myth Of The Jewish Slaughter Known As The Holocaust”
Copy Of Khamenei’s Statement From His Farsi-Language Website