Iran's Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem-Shirazi on Saturday joined Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in denying the Holocaust, saying it was nothing more than a "superstition" meant to manipulate the West and the United States.
The ayatollah, speaking in the city of Qom, was quoted by the IRNA news agency.
Shirazi, who is considered one of the great Shiite rulers in Iran, said the Holocaust was "a superstition. But the Zionists say that all peoples of the world must accept that.
"The truth about the Holocaust is not clear, and when researchers want to determine if (the event) is true or whether the Jews have invented it to make themselves look like victims, they are imprisoned.
"Americans and Westerners," he continued, "Are affected by a newly emerging superstition like the Holocaust."
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad often refers to the Holocaust as a myth – a stance which continuously prompts international outrage. However, until now, Tehran's clerics have refrained from echoing the sentiment.
Moreover, the Iranian opposition has repeatedly slammed Ahmadinejad's claims, saying they damage the country's international image.
Shirazi's statement was made just a day after "Jerusalem Day," traditionally marked on the last Friday of Ramadan. In a speech marking the event, Ahmadinejad said the Washington peace talks were doomed to fail, adding that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not have any mandate to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian people.
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