Iranian scholars denounce Holocaust denial

More than 100 Iranian artists, scholars and human rights activists, including the author of the best-selling memoir "Reading Lolita in Tehran," have denounced the country's sponsorship of a conference that featured deniers of the Holocaust. A statement in the Feb. 15 edition of The New York Review of Books criticized "the new brand of anti-Semitism prevalent in the Middle East today" and paid "homage to the memory of the millions of Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust." It also condemned the Iranian government for "its attempt to falsify history." Azar Nafisi, author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran," helped organize the statement along with human rights activists Roya and Ladan Boroumand. The December conference in Teheran gathered 67 writers and researchers from 30 countries, most of whom argued that either the Holocaust did not happen or that it was vastly exaggerated. It was backed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called the Holocaust a "myth" and said Israel should be "wiped off the map." The United States has drafted a UN resolution condemning the denial of the Holocaust, a spokesman said earlier in the week.