U.S. Drafts Holocaust Denial Resolution

The Associated Press
Monday, January 22, 2007; 4:51 PM

UNITED NATIONS -- The United States has drafted a U.N. resolution condemning the denial of the Holocaust, a spokesman said Monday, a month after Iran provoked widespread anger by holding a conference casting doubt on the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II.

According to a copy of the draft made available to The Associated Press, the proposed resolution urges all member states to "reject any denial of the Holocaust," saying that "ignoring the historical fact of these terrible events increases the risk they will be repeated."

The draft resolution "condemns without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust," but doesn't single out any specific country for criticism. The U.S. said it planned to circulate the draft to General Assembly members on Monday.

The December conference in Tehran gathered 67 writers and researchers from 30 countries, most of whom argue that either the Holocaust did not happen or that it was vastly exaggerated. It was backed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called the Holocaust a "myth" and said Israel should be "wiped off the map."

Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the U.N., said the draft resolution was being circulated ahead of the U.N.'s International Day of Commemoration in memory of victims of the Holocaust on Jan. 27.

He said its purpose was to "make perfectly clear that denying or minimizing the importance of the Holocaust is unacceptable to the U.N. membership." It was targeted toward "any country, organization or individuals" who would act in such a way, he said, without naming any country specifically.

Gilad Cohen, a counselor in the Israeli mission, referred indirectly to the Iran conference, saying "these incidents cannot be ignored any longer."

"This is a matter for the U.N. to say loud and clear, 'Enough is enough,'" he said. "Iran is wanting to have nuclear weapons and deny the Holocaust. This is something nobody should accept."

The spokesman for the Iranian mission to the U.N. did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Iran has been locked in a long-running dispute with the U.S. and its allies over its nuclear program, which Washington maintains is geared toward developing atomic weapons. Iran says its program is purely for peaceful purposes.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution last month imposing limited trade sanctions on Tehran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that produces the material for nuclear reactors or bombs. On Monday, Iran said it barred 38 members of a U.N. nuclear inspection team from entering the country in what appeared to be an act of retaliation.

© 2007 The Associated Press