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Anti-Israel paranoia reaches new heights in Iran

    On December 14 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the first senior Iranian politician to deny the Holocaust.

    His government achieved another first recently, by officially allowing the propagation of the fake "Iranian holocaust" story.

    According to this invented tale, Esther and Mordechai, whose miraculous rescue of Persian Jews is recorded in the story of Purim, were not the victims. Rather, Mordechai was the victimiser, as he ordered the massacre of more than 70,000 Iranians.

    This story then goes on to say that Jews every year celebrate the massacre of Iranian men, women and children, by dressing up as the main characters of the story.

    A main source of this fabricated story is a pro-Nazi article published in 1934 in the Iran-e Bastan publication.

    Oxford University professor Homa Katouzian, in his book, Sadeq Hedayat: His Work and His Wondrous World, notes that this publication, "imitating German antisemitism, fabricated sensational reports of Jewish plots".

    As well as reverse engineering the story of Esther and Mordechai, Iran-e Bastan also published false stories about Jews selling fatal medicine to Muslims.

    The main goal of publishing such antisemitic material was to encourage closer relations between Iran and Hitler's Germany.

    Such antisemitic articles were the basis for anti-Jewish campaigns in Iran by Islamists in the 1940s.

    Although such articles and accusations were suppressed by successive Iranian governments, under Ahmadinejad they have returned.

    Not only is his government allowing such fabricated stories to be promoted, he also allows unprecedented demonstrations to take place in front of the graves of Esther and Mordechai in the Iranian city of Hamedan.

    Unlike Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, however, the majority of Iranians are proud of their Jewish compatriots, respect their history, and pray with them in their holy places of sanctuary, including the Esther and Mordechai mausoleum.

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