Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei compared Zionists to the Nazis in a
Tweet on Monday; a comment that was ignored by most of the Western
Khamenei posted a picture to mark the anniversary of the trial of
French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, who had converted to Islam.
from a speech Khamenei gave in a meeting with Garaudy in 1998 are placed above
Garaudy’s picture stating: “The Zionists are just like the Nazis.”
Garaudy wrote a book in French, Les mythes fondateurs de la politique
, with the English version, The Founding Myths of Modern Israel
book contained Holocaust denial.
His book was banned in France after a
trial in 1998. Iran and much of the Muslim world threw its support behind
The Arabic version of his book was a hit.
Khamenei met with
him on his visit to Iran.
On Khamenei’s Facebook page, more lengthy
quotes from his speech with Garaudy are posted.
“Fighting the #Zionists
and their supporters is a great spiritual and divine duty and your courage and
tirelessness on the path of this resistance is admirable,” it stated.
hold no prejudice and negativity against the Jews and the #Jews are living in
Iran in #peace and comfort. The issue of Zionists is different from that of the
Jews; the Zionists are just like the #Nazis and display the same #racist
behaviors,” it said.
Brandon Friedman, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University
and a researcher at its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African
Studies, told The Jerusalem Post that the conventional wisdom in Washington and
Brussels seems to be that the West should be empowering Iran’s political
moderates so that a deal can be reached.
“In essence, the claim by those
looking for any diplomatic compromise with Iran is that drawing attention to
Khamenei and the Islamic Republic’s ideology is undermining support for
President Hassan Rouhani’s more moderate administration,” he said.
more the Western media focuses its criticism on Khamenei, the more pressure it
puts on Rouhani, making a deal more difficult to reach.”
continued, stating that Khamenei supporters in Iran would put pressure on Rouhani “by
arguing the West will never accept the Islamic Republic for what it
“At the end of the day, the West is self-censoring its views on
Khamenei for fear of undermining Rouhani’s internal political position,” he
“The risk and assumption embedded in this view is the belief that
Rouhani and Khamenei see the nuclear issue differently, and that the West will
be better off for ‘empowering’ Rouhani,” he said.