Uruguay responds to Iranian ambassador's Holocaust claims

By Jennifer Lipman, August 2, 2011

Uruguay's government has condemned Iran's ambassador to the South American country following statements in which he denied the facts of the Holocaust.

Hojatollah Soltani said last week that "it is said that during that war the Nazis killed two million, four million, six million...there are different figures on the Jews' news."

He added: "This was named a 'Holocaust', and Israel is using this issue to present itself to the world as a victim, and asking for economic and political support from some countries in Europe."

He said Iran should study the Holocaust to determine the facts and added that while "maybe some people died", the figure of even two million was "a lie according to some European historians who have submitted documents".

Luis Almagro, Uruguay's Foreign Minister, summoned the diplomat for a meeting after the Jewish community expressed outrage at Mr Soltani's comments.

Mr Almagro said the remarks would not alter Uruguay's relations with Iran but added that the Holocaust was an "undeniable historic event" and to deny that was discriminatory.

Mr Soltani is not the only Iranian politician to have publicly questioned the Holocaust. The country's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in 2005 that it was "a myth" created by Jews.

Last updated: 9:57am, August 2 2011