Last Updated Wed, 14 Dec 2005 06:15:57 EST
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stirred up international controversy Wednesday with a speech calling the Holocaust a "myth."
* INDEPTH: Iran
Ahmadinejad said the myth has been created by Europeans to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.
"Today, they have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan.
Six million Jews were among those killed in Europe as part of the the Nazi Holocaust during the Second World War.
"If you [Europeans] committed this big crime, then why should the oppressed Palestinian nation pay the price?" Ahmadinejad asked in the speech which was carried live on state television.
"You [Europeans] have to pay the compensation yourself," he said, suggesting that all people in Israel should be transferred to other parts of the world.
"This is our proposal: give a part of your own land in Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to them [the Jews] so that the Jews can establish their country," he said.
Israel denounces 'rogue regime'
Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Wednesday the comments show Iran is becoming a "rogue regime" with an "extremist ideology [and] a warped understanding of reality."
* FROM OCT. 27, 2005: Arab states maintain silence after Iran's anti-Israel remark
This is not the first time Ahmadinejad has spoken out against Israel or called into question the validity of the Holocaust.
Last week at a speech in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, he said "Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces and they insist on it to the extent that if anyone proves something contrary to that they condemn that person and throw them in jail."
In October he told a group of conservative students that Israel should be "wiped off the map."
"There is no doubt that the new wave of [attacks] in Palestine will wipe off this stigma [Israel] from the face of the Islamic world," he said.
* FROM JUNE 25, 2005: Iran's hardline president aims for 'modern, advanced' nation
The next day he stood by his words saying, "My words are the Iranian nation's words."
* INDEPTH: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Ahmadinejad was elected last June with a goal to make the country "a modern, advanced, powerful and Islamic" model for the world.
A loyal hardliner and former mayor of Tehran, Ahmadinejad had the backing of Iran's upper and middle classes.
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