U.S. to German social democrats: Don't host Iran Holocaust denial entity

"IPIS, the Iranian MFA think tank, hosted a Holocaust denial conference in 2006. Both Germany and the United States condemned the event."

May 15, 2019 04:43
2 minute read.
Iranians at an exhibit during a visit at the Holocaust denial event in Tehran, i

Iranian men look at a cartoon exhibit during the " in Tehran August 14, 2006. (photo credit: RAHEB HOMAVANDI/REUTERS)


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The US ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, urged the German Social Democratic Party’s think tank on Monday to not stage an Iran nuclear deal conference with an institute that hosted the Holocaust denial conference in 2006.

Grenell wrote to The Jerusalem Post by email: “IPIS [Institute for Political and International Studies], the Iranian MFA think tank, hosted a Holocaust denial conference in 2006. Both Germany and the United States condemned the event. Nobody from this group should be given a platform.”

An Ebert Foundation event spokeswoman confirmed to the Post via telephone that the foundation’s conference with the Holocaust denial institute will take place on Tuesday in Berlin.

SDP’s think tank Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) is reeling from anti-Israel scandals, including disinviting the distinguished Israeli writer Chaim Noll from a talk in April because he criticized the pro-Iranian regime policies of the Social Democrats and their Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

The Ebert Foundation invited Saeed Khatibzadeh, who represents the Institute for Political and International Studies – the think tank of Iran’s Foreign Ministry, which organized the 2006 Holocaust denial conference in Tehran. The event – “The International Conference on Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision” – featured a who’s who of global and Iranian Holocaust deniers.

The Ebert conference will also host Hassan Ahmadian, who defended massacres carried out by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Shi’ite militias in Syria, as “forward deterrence” against the Jewish state. The United States classifies the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

In a statement to the Post, SDP general secretary Andrea Nahles defended the controversial event.

“It’s about international political issues and Iran’s relationship with the international community,” she said. “Therefore, we have invited experts from the science and think tank sectors, including those who are close to relevant decision-making in Iran. Mr. Saeed Khatibzadeh is an expert on nuclear issues; in this capacity he was invited for the panel discussion. In 2006, he worked at the Iranian Embassy in Canada and was not involved in organizing the so-called ‘Holocaust Conference.’”

Ebert representatives claim the Holocaust denial institute reformed itself. The organization maintains its same name.

Dr. Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi-hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and head of its Jerusalem office, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday: “If these are the kinds of guests invited to Berlin, which gives legitimacy to Iranian Holocaust denial and the Iranian regime’s genocidal threats against Israel, it is not surprising that German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has pursued policies severely critical of Israel and voted against Israel at the UN.” Germany voted with Iran’s regime 16 times against Israel last year at the world body.

Zuroff added that FES should cancel the invitation to the Iranian regime representatives and invite Iranian dissidents instead.

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