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Iranian president: Holocaust is a 'myth'
TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday the Holocaust is a "myth" that Europeans have used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.
"Today, they have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets," Ahmadinejad told thousands of people in the southeastern city of Zahedan.
Ahmadinejad provoked an international outcry in October when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
Touring southeast Iran, Ahmadinejad said that if Europeans insist the Holocaust did happen, then they are responsible and should pay the price.
"If you committed this big crime, then why should the oppressed Palestinian nation pay the price?" Ahmadinejad asked rhetorically.
"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 so that the Jews can establish their country," he said, developing a theme he raised in Saudi Arabia last week.
Germany and Israel condemned the remark, with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier calling it "shocking and unacceptable."
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said: "The repeated outrageous remarks of the Iranian president show clearly the mind-set of the ruling clique in Tehran and indicate clearly the extremist policy goals of the regime.
"The combination of fanatical ideology, a warped sense of reality and nuclear weapons is a combination that no one in the international community can accept," Regev added, referring to allegations that Iran is developing nuclear bombs
In Berlin, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said his government had summoned the Iranian charge d'affaires to make "unmistakably clear" its displeasure.
"I cannot hide the fact that this weighs on bilateral relations and on the chances for the negotiation process, the so-called nuclear dossier," Steinmeier said, referring to European talks with Iran on its nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad said the West had harmed Muslims, invaded their countries and plundered their wealth.
"If your civilization consists of aggression, making oppressed people homeless, suffocating the voices of justice and bringing poverty to a majority of the world's people, we say loudly that we hate your hollow civilization," he said.