NEW YORK — In a statement to be published next week, more than 100 Iranian activists outside their country have condemned its recent conference questioning the Holocaust.
The activists signed the statement blasting the Iranian government and paying homage to victims of the Nazi regime. The activists expressed frustration over the relative silence on the subject from the Iranian diaspora.
The statement, which began circulating last month, is to be printed next week in The New York Review of Books. The Associated Press recently obtained a copy.
The statement notes that the activists signed notwithstanding their "diverse views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." The signers include Azar Nafisi, who wrote the best-seller "Reading Lolita in Tehran."
"I thought it was inappropriate to use the Holocaust as a political issue," Nafisi said. "I thought that Iranians, especially non-Jewish Iranians, had a responsibility to say, 'Not in my name.'"
The two-day conference in December brought together well-known Holocaust deniers and others who have said the Nazi genocide has been blown out of proportion.
The Tehran conference was backed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has made strident statements against Israel and called the Holocaust a "myth" while seeking to elevate Iran's profile in the region. Attempts to reach officials with the Iranian government were not immediately successful Thursday evening.
Some Iranians outside Iran have avoided publicly condemning the conference because they were concerned about being viewed as pro-Israeli _ one reason the statement avoids taking sides on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said Ladan Boroumand, a historian who began circulating the statement.
"This is a matter that's above political dissent," she said.
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