Tehran, YJC. Foreign Minister Zarif is facing heavy criticism home for not taking an orthodox stance against The Holocaust.
The Jewish massacre or The Holocaust found its way into Iran’s politics with former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Since then, when Iranian politicians face western media, there is always the issue what stance they adopt regarding the Holocaust. What is not mentioned, though, is that the Holocaust is a historical phenomena whereas diplomats are assigned with the world’s current political issues.
In a recent interview with Germany’s TV station Phoenix, when posed to the question of the Holocaust, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the event has been "tragically cruel and should not happen again."
Such statements caused great turmoil among the Iranian conservatives, so much so that they demanded Zarif change his tone.
What the critics seem to be missing is that Zarif is a diplomat, not a historian, while the Holocaust is a historical issue. The difference between a diplomat and a historian is that the former is given the task of observing and evaluating current issues, whereas that of the historian is to investigate into historical records.
With what he has offered as an answer, Zarif may have intended to relegate any comment to historians.
It is not a condemnable act when Zarif calls the Holocaust a "tragically cruel” event, since all historians agree on the atrocities Hitler vented on diverse ethnicities from Russian and Polish to Jew and others, considering even the murder of one person as a crime against all humanity.
In the meanwhile the Iranian FM has by no means denied the Holocaust, since all historians, even those who attended the Holocaust conference which was held on December 11, 2006 in Tehran, maintain that the event is a historical fact which has really occurred and is not thus deniable. But what warrants comment here is not the killing of the Jew in the WWII, but the manner of the killing and at some point the number of the killed, which the Jew claim to be 6 million, an issue which is not the province of a diplomat.
So what is going on about the Holocaust now does not concern its reality but a revision of it, which is the realm of the historian. Again, what is attributed to the Holocaust as its fairy tale aspect does not argue the massacre itself, but the gas chambers and other similar issues prevailing around the historical event, about which the school of historians called the Revisionists demand a new consideration, quite apart from the core issue of the massacre as a given fact.
So, for Zarif to have denied the Holocaust, not only would not have solved any of Iran’s problems, but he would have been noted for a diplomat who challenges historical facts, however exaggerated they may be. Thus doing so, he would not have been able to defend his country’s national interests any more.”
But by also saying "We have nothing against the Jews. We do not feel threatened by anyone," Zarif appears controversial once more.
Here one thing must be reminded that Islamic countries in large and Iran in particular have defended the Jews throughout history, having never exposed them to attributes such as anti-systemic or racist as is the case with Europe. This is not only not condemnable, but rather worthy of recognition as an honorable characteristic of Iran.
* Hossein Amiri
The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the official opinion of YJC.