During a speech at Tehran University, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the Holocaust was a "lie" which had been invented as a pretext to found a Jewish state. He said the Holocaust was "an unprovable and mythical claim" and that it is "a national and religious duty" to confront the state of Israel. The Iranian president made the speech in commemoration of Iran's annual Qods (Jerusalem) Day. Each year Qods Day rallies are held throughout Iran on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
During the Qods Day marches there were clashes between police and opponents of President Ahmadinejad in Tehran. Despite warnings by the Iranian authorities against street protests, tens of thousands of supporters of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi joined the Qods Day rallies. While marching in Tehran they shouted slogans against President Ahmadinejad, whom they accused of winning the June presidential electionby a massive rigging of ballots. They also demanded the release of people arrrested during the demonstrations following the announcement of the results.
On Thursday, President Ahmadinejad told the US television network NBC that he regretted "the fact that some people were killed" during demonstrations in the wake of the disputed presidential election. The authorities say that 36 people were killed during the unrest, while the opposition puts the figure at 72.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Photo by ANP