Iran will host an international conference next week on the Holocaust, with the central question being whether or not it actually took place. At the conclusion of the conference, the Iranians will decide on the answer.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi convened a press conference Tuesday to elaborate on the event.
If Iran is indeed convinced that the Holocaust took place, the next question will be how many Jews were murdered and why the Palestinians need to suffer because of an event that took place in Europe 60 years ago.
Mohammadi stated that the idea for such a conference on the Holocaust was the brain child of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
There are those in Iran who deny the Holocaust. In February, Ahmadinejad himself referred to it as a 'myth', provoking a wave of outrage in Israel and the world at large.
Mohammadi, deputy foreign minister for education and research, announced that the conference, which will begin Monday, will last two days and will be attended by 67 participants from 30 nations such as Britain, France, Australia, and Canada.
Also represented will be Russia, Austria, Turkey, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Syria and Algeria. The minister refrained from revealing the identity of the experts, out of concern "that their governments will take their passports and prevent them from coming to the conference."
Free and open atmosphereThe Iranian government stated that the conference will host Jews, including rabbis. It is unclear whether Holocaust survivors will participate in the conference, but it is known that any Israeli attempt to participate in the conference was rejected.
Mohammadi addressed opponents of the idea: "The West goes on about free speech but doesn't allow experts to research the question of the Holocaust."
"Why do European governments allow insults to the prophet Mohammad but aren't able to handle arguments regarding the Holocaust?"
Mohammadi claims the conference merely allows experts the opportunity to examine the question of the Holocaust in a free and open atmosphere.
And who will judge the findings of the conference and decide whether the Holocaust happened or not? The minister said that, given the good relations between Iran and Iranian Jews, it can serve as an appropriate judge.
"The Jews in Iran live in peace with other Iranians, since the time of King Koresh and following the onset of Islam. As such, I think the Iranian nation can be a neutral judge on this issue, since it doesn't have a predetermined side."