Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei compared Zionists to the Nazis in a Tweet on Monday; a comment that was ignored by most of the Western media.
Khamenei posted a picture to mark the anniversary of the trial of French Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, who had converted to Islam.
Quotes from a speech Khamenei gave in a meeting with Garaudy in 1998 are placed above Garaudy’s picture stating: “The Zionists are just like the Nazis.”
Garaudy wrote a book in French, Les mythes fondateurs de la politique israélienne, with the English version, The Founding Myths of Modern Israel. The book contained Holocaust denial.
His book was banned in France after a trial in 1998. Iran and much of the Muslim world threw its support behind him.
The Arabic version of his book was a hit.
Khamenei met with him on his visit to Iran.
On Khamenei’s Facebook page, more lengthy quotes from his speech with Garaudy are posted.
“Fighting the #Zionists and their supporters is a great spiritual and divine duty and your courage and tirelessness on the path of this resistance is admirable,” it stated.
“We hold no prejudice and negativity against the Jews and the #Jews are living in Iran in #peace and comfort. The issue of Zionists is different from that of the Jews; the Zionists are just like the #Nazis and display the same #racist behaviors,” it said.
Brandon Friedman, a lecturer at Tel Aviv University and a researcher at its Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, told The Jerusalem Post that the conventional wisdom in Washington and Brussels seems to be that the West should be empowering Iran’s political moderates so that a deal can be reached.
“In essence, the claim by those looking for any diplomatic compromise with Iran is that drawing attention to Khamenei and the Islamic Republic’s ideology is undermining support for President Hassan Rouhani’s more moderate administration,” he said.
“The more the Western media focuses its criticism on Khamenei, the more pressure it puts on Rouhani, making a deal more difficult to reach.”
Friedman continued, stating that Khamenei supporters in Iran would put pressure on Rouhani “by arguing the West will never accept the Islamic Republic for what it is.”
“At the end of the day, the West is self-censoring its views on Khamenei for fear of undermining Rouhani’s internal political position,” he said.
“The risk and assumption embedded in this view is the belief that Rouhani and Khamenei see the nuclear issue differently, and that the West will be better off for ‘empowering’ Rouhani,” he said.