Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made statements questioning the historical reality of the Holocaust during his annual Nowruz, or Persian New Year, address to the nation on Friday.
During his speech, where the leader discussed Iran’s struggling economy and Western cultural encroachments on youth, Khamenei denounced the West for its “strict adherence” to freedom of speech while imposing restrictions on discussing the Holocaust. Emphasizing this point, Khamenei said, “In European countries no one dares to speak about the Holocaust, which it is unknown if the roots of this matter are actual or not, and, if it actually did happen, in what way.”
Khamenei added that the West, and Europe in particular, place high value on free speech, yet, “Opinions on the Holocaust and doubt the Holocaust are considered one of the biggest offenses that they [try to] stop and imprison and prosecute.”
Khamenei also singled out the U.S. and its support for Israel’s requirement for the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. “America has been left in a disaster in Palestine. The plans they had for Palestine, and they’ve tried very hard, have not been successful…They want to transform the country of Palestine into a Jewish country, meaning that Palestinians, whether they be Muslim or Christian, will not have the possibility to live in Palestine,” Khamenei said. Khamenei also claimed that the U.S. is plotting to “finish off Palestine in its entirety” by supporting Israel’s preconditions in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
In his 2013 Persian New Year address, Khamenei threatened that if Israel were to “make the mistake of attacking Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”