Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Across Europe, the occasion is being commemorated with public vigils, countless newspaper columns, and political speeches. In America, President Obama is set to address the Righteous Among Nations ceremony at the Israeli embassy in Washington. And then there’s the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who decided to mark the day by releasing a slickly-produced video claiming the Holocaust never happened.
The clip, translated by the Middle East media watchdog and research outlet MEMRI, opens with scenes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But it soon takes a bizarre turn. “No one in European countries dares to speak about [the] Holocaust,” intones Khamenei, “while it is not clear whether the core of this matter is a reality or not.”
“Even if it is a reality, it is not clear how it happened,” Iran’s highest authority continued. “Speaking about Holocaust and expressing doubts about it is considered to be a great sin.” Khamenei went on to call on “people of Islam” to “stand up against the ignorance.”
Watch the Holocaust-denial portion of Khamenei’s video below:
While such sentiments might seem jarring to the untrained ear, they are par for the course for Khamenei and the Iranian regime, which was criticized by the State Department this past July for blocking Holocaust education web sites within Iran. Khamenei frequently takes to his social media channels to ruminate on Jewish conspiracies and the alleged fabrication of the Holocaust:
#Holocaust is an event whose reality is uncertain and if it has happened, it’s uncertain how it has happened.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) March 21, 2014
Whether any of this will be raised in European capitals, where Iranian President Rouhani is currently on tour to cement political and economic ties in the wake of the nuclear deal, remains to be seen.
Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.