The Iranian Diaspora speaks out

Friday, January 26, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
More than 100 Iranian activists around the world have signed a statement disapproving the recent conference in Iran that questioned the occurrence of the Holocaust.

The statement pays respect to Jewish and non-Jewish victims of the Nazi regime and expresses anger with the Iranian government for "distortion of historical facts," according to a copy of the statement 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 Iranians living abroad. The statement is to be printed next week in The New York Review of Books and may be posted on its website 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 widely discussed 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 harsh 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 during that the discussion.

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