Iranian activists condemn Holocaust denial conference

Statement pays homage to Jewish, non-Jewish victims of Nazi regime while blasting the Iranian gov't for distorting historical facts.

More than 100 prominent Iranian activists around the world have signed a statement condemning the recent conference in Iran that questioned the occurrence of the Holocaust. The statement pays homage to Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Nazi regime while blasting the Iranian government for "distortion of historical facts," according to a copy shown to The Associated Press. It also notes that the activists are signing despite their "diverse views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." The effort was initiated in December by Ladan Boroumand, a human rights activist who was frustrated by the relative silence on the subject from the Iranian diaspora. The statement is to be printed next week in The New York Review of Books and may be posted online by the Review over the weekend. "This power they claim to be able to tell you what the truth is and what it is not is where totalitarianism gets its strength from," said Boroumand, 49, a historian. "The whole purpose of this statement was to say the truth." The controversial two-day conference in December brought together well-known Holocaust deniers and others who have said the Nazi genocide has been blown out of proportion. The Teheran conference was backed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has made strident statements against Israel and called the Holocaust a "myth" while seeking to elevate Iran's profile in the region. Attempts to reach officials with the Iranian government were not immediately successful Thursday evening.