WASHINGTON -- Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Sunday that the Holocaust was no "myth," and that a statement suggesting otherwise -- found on the website of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei -- was simply a mistranslation.
“I have spoken to the leader on this issue,” Zarif said during an interview on ABC’s "This Week." “He rejects and condemns the killing of innocent people."
“No, the Holocaust is not a myth,” he added. “Nobody is talking about a myth … if it is there it is a bad translation and it is translated out of context.
"This is the problem when you translate something from Persian to English," he said. "You may lose some of the meaning. This has unfortunately been the case several times over. The point is, we condemn the killing of innocent people whether it happens in Nazi Germany or whether it is happening in Palestine."
The acknowledgement of the Holocaust has remained a point of conflict in U.S.-Iranian relations, flaring up most often during the U.S. visits by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Since the election of Iran’s current president, the more moderate Hassan Rouhani, it has remained a subject of sensitivity. During his recent visit to the U.S., Rouhani described the Holocaust as a “crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews” and called it “reprehensible and condemnable.” But those comments, made to CNN, were later disputed by a semi-official Iranian news agency, which said the network had botched the translation.
Zarif’s comments were certainly definitive, though skeptics would note that there is a difference between stating that the Holocaust took place and acknowledging its severity.
Asked if what he would do about Khamenei’s website, which refers to the “myth of the massacre of Jews known as the Holocaust,” Zarif replied: “I’ll talk to them.”