Iran Responds to Accusations of Antisemitism by Pence: ‘We are against Zionists’

February 18, 2019

2 min read

After being accused of antisemitism by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Iran’s Foreign Minister retorted that the claim was “laughable,” and that “Iran has always supported the Jews; we are just against Zionists.”

The incident occurred on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference after Pence visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland earlier in the week. He said that Iran harbors “vile anti-Semitic hatreds and threats of violence,” adding that “the Iranian regime openly advocates another Holocaust, and it seeks the means to achieve it.”

Pence added that Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei himself has said: “It is the mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to erase Israel from the map.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif slammed back and called the Holocaust “a disaster.”

Zarif’s ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi said Iran had a “historic and cultural record of coexistence and respect for divine religions, particularly Judaism,” and that its policy towards the Jewish state was due to “the aggressive and occupying nature of the Zionist regime … which is a killing machine against the Palestinian people.”

Pence urged European leaders to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran brokered by former President Barack Obama. America withdrew under U.S. President Donald Trump last May and reimposed sanctions against the regime, which is in the throes of economic hardship.

Israel and Iran enjoyed strong ties until the 1970 Islamic Revolution and the rise of the ayatollahs.

From that moment, Ayatollah Khomenei referred to Israel as the “little Satan” and the United States as the “big Satan,” and shut the Israeli embassy in Tehran, handing it over to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Iranian leaders have called for attacks on major Israeli cities numerous times over the years, with former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map” during his “The World Without Zionism” conference in Tehran in 2005.

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