Holocaust a myth, says Iranian president

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Iran's president said today that the Holocaust was a "myth", prompting strong condemnation from Israel, Germany and the European Commission.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the comments to thousands of people during a speech in Iran's south-eastern city of Zahedan.

They follow the international outcry his remarks caused in October when he said that Israel should be "wiped off the map".

Germany's foreign minister warned that the "shocking and unacceptable" comments would influence coming nuclear talks between Europe and Iran.

The European Commission also said the remarks would hurt Iran's relations with other countries.

Addressing the crowds in Zahedan, Mr Ahmadinejad said: "Today, they have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets."

He has previously expressed doubts about the murder of the Jews by the Nazis, but today was the first time he said publicly that the Holocaust was a myth.

Speaking as part of a tour of south-east Iran, Mr Ahmadinejad said that if Europeans insisted the Holocaust did happen, then it was they who were responsible and they should pay the price.

"If you committed this big crime, then why should the oppressed Palestinian nation pay the price?" Mr Ahmadinejad asked.

"This is our proposal: if you committed the crime, then give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to them [Jews], so that the Jews can establish their country," he said.

These comments developed a theme he first raised in Saudi Arabia last week.

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