Iran said Sunday it would go ahead and sponsor a conference to examine the scientific evidence supporting the Holocaust in the autumn, dismissing it as exaggerated.
The move to proceed with the controversial conference, likely to deepen Teheran's international isolation, came as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan raised concerns with Iranian officials over an exhibition of cartoons about the Holocaust.
Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad already had called the Nazis' World War II slaughter of 6 million European Jews a myth and said the Jewish state should be wiped off the map or moved to Germany or the United States. Those remarks prompted a global outpouring of condemnation.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said that because the Holocaust is a scientific issue, both opponents and proponents of the existence of the Holocaust could participate.