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  Global Views
Ravings of a Madman
Iranian President Denies Holocaust Existed
By Peter McCrossan
Staff Writer
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

For the first time in public the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad openly denied the holocaust ever took place. "They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred, and placed this above God, religions and the prophets," he claimed in a speech live on state television.

In October this year he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" and these latest remarks have provoked global condemnation that may well hinder the imminent negotiation process over Iran's nuclear weapons program.

At a time when regional tensions in the area are already severely strained, he highlighted the extremist nature of Iran's outlook and his desire to distort reality. Iran has repeatedly blocked UN checks on its nuclear weapons capability, and after this performance things aren't exactly looking up, as it clearly runs counter to the image of the peaceful nation Iran would like to portray itself as. Ironically, Ahmadinejad delivered his speech at a Muslim summit that had convened to denounce terrorism and promote tolerance.

In what is sure to alienate the Islamic republic even further in diplomatic circles, Ahmadinejad went on to suggest that the nation of Israel should be moved to Europe or even as far afield as Alaska. To back his suggestion, he claimed that if in fact the holocaust occurred it was Western nations who caused it, and therefore it is their responsibility to accept the consequences and provide land for Israel rather than steal it from the Arab people.

The Iranian premier also refuted Western nations' claims of being representative of democratic civilization. "If your civilization consists of aggression, making oppressed people homeless, suffocating the voices of justice, and bringing poverty to the majority of the world's people, we say loudly that we hate your hollow civilization," he said.

Moderate Muslim leaders worldwide must surely feel frustration with Ahmadinejad for further linking their religion with extremism. Israel and other Western nations whom he is obviously seeking to antagonise must steadfastly display their democratic nature and proceed with UN inspections of Iran's nuclear program with regular diligence, not knee-jerk reactionarianism.

World leaders have rightly openly condemned Ahmadinejad's remarks, which should be dismissed as the ravings of an out-of-touch madman. Full attention should be devoted to securing and stabilizing peace in the region and recognizing that opinions such as his have no place in civilized political debate.

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Mr. Peter McCrossan serves as staff writer for The Seoul Times. The Irish journalist studied computer science at University College Dublin. Mr. McCrossan covers diplomatic community affairs, travel & hotel industry, and local social issues.






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