"Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a similar greeting, to which Christine Pelosi, daughter of US House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, responded: "The New Year would be even sweeter if you would end Iran's Holocaust denial." Zarif replied, "Iran never denied it. The man who was perceived to be denying it is now gone." These tweets were followed by further, albeit nuanced, acknowledgements of the Holocaust in Rouhani's interview with CNN in New York a few weeks later."First of all, Iran definitely did deny it but Felsen just lets that slide by without a comment. If you can site the President of Iran's statements in one situation you have to cite it in all others. If Ahmadinejad's statements were not supported by the Iranian regime, neither are Rouhani's. Besides it wasn't just remarks made by Ahmadinejad, Iran hosted Holocaust denial conferences.
Iran as a country absolutely denied the Holocaust, the only thing that has changed is that now they won't just come right out and admit it. And Rouhani did not acknowledge the Holocaust as others have mentioned long before me. If you need a reminder: he said that the Nazis committed many crimes including some against Jews. That isn't saying the Holocaust happened. He never used the word "Holocaust." Amazing how Felsen insists that "context is key" yet feels the need to simply gloss over whatever he doesn't want to hear. Actually I take that back, it's not amazing it all, it's actually quite typical behavior for Huffington Post bloggers.
Having attempted to claim that Iran never actually denied the Holocaust, Felsen starts making excuse for them:
"Rouhani is, without question, reaching out to the West - and also specifically to Jews - in ways unheard of during the past decade. But he and Zarif also operate in a political reality that includes the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, the Revolutionary Guard Corps, and a cadre of hard-liners. So, while exploring new avenues of communication, Rouhani and his government are navigating carefully."Oh okay, so now we're hearing that things are "ambiguous." How convenient, now it means that whatever Rouhani says, you can interpret it exactly as you want to. And that's exactly what Felsen does with the Rouhani statements on CNN:
"In Christiane Amanpour's CNN interview Rouhani described the Holocaust as a "crime that the Nazis committed toward the Jews" that was "reprehensible and condemnable." But he also said that he would leave it to the historians to judge its "dimensions." While seemingly neutral, to some observers this second statement suggested - to their dismay-- that for Rouhani the magnitude of the Holocaust's horror may be overstated."Yeah, that's a very creative interpretation of his remarks. Even by Huffington Post standards it's kind of impressive. I can only gather that Felsen doesn't know that denying the scope of the Holocaust is a very typical form of Holocaust denial which is pretty telling considering he's writing an article about Holocaust denial. Also as I said before Rouhani never used the term "Holocaust" and the CNN translation was completely wrong in some places.
What we can conclude is that in respect to the Holocaust (as many other things) Iran's ruling regime has taken its views from blatant to less blatant, and I see that Felsen is completely willing to fall for it. He repeats himself about Zaid and then repeats himself about the pressure these spokespeople are under:
"Both comments are framed by the domestic backdrop of a Supreme Leader and Revolutionary Guard, neither much inclined toward Holocaust recognition."If the Supreme Leader and the ruling regime are Holocaust deniers, the country is practicing Holocaust denial. I really don't get what is difficult about this. He concludes with sucking up to the Iranian regime and trying to be "impartial:"
"It also falls on the United States, Israel and the international community to speak and act in ways that help the new Iranian leadership, and their people, move closer to reconciliation with their neighbours and the broader world. As talks on Iran's nuclear programme begin this week, there is no better time than now.
As a Jewish American, I thank Mr Rouhani and Mr Zarif for their Rosh Hashanah tweets. And with hope for reconciliation and peace, on this Eid al-Adha, I say to them, and to the Iranian people, Eid Mubarak (a blessed holiday)."