WASHINGTON (JTA) – Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the Holocaust was “tragically cruel and should not happen again.”
Zarif, addressing the Munich Security Conference, once again distanced his government, led by President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected last summer, from its predecessor led by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Holocaust denier.
“We have nothing against the Jews,” he said. Zarif in September acknowledged the Holocaust in a Twitter exchange with Christine Pelosi, the daughter of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives and in an interview on ABC.
Zarif in his Munich speech said talks between Iran and major powers aimed at keeping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon could result in a deal in six months.
Notably, Moshe Yaalon, the Israeli defense minister, did not leave the hall during Zarif’s speech, although Israeli officials usually walk out when Iranian officials speak.
In another break with the rhetoric of the previous regime, Zarif cast the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a matter of addressing the “elemental rights” of Palestinians and not as one of Israel’s very existence.