Iranian delegation reportedly snubs Buchenwald visit


(JTA) — An Iranian delegation visiting Germany refused to tour a concentration camp memorial and museum, according to reports.

The Iranian delegation from the city of Shiraz, the twin city of Weimar, Germany, refused on June23 to make a scheduled trip to the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial, located near Weimar.

The Weimar City Council reportedly refused to meet the delegation after it canceled the tour. 

"Holocaust survivors are aghast at this blatant act of disrespect and moral callousness," said Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants. "Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is notorious for his denial of the Holocaust, and the actions of the mayor of Shiraz and his delegation are effectively another disgraceful expression of this Holocaust denial."

Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map."

"We call upon the mayor and municipal authorities of Weimar to protest this clear act of hate and rescind the ‘twinned’ relationship with Shiraz," Steinberg said. "By severing such links they will send a message that Shiraz has betrayed the people-to-people component of twinning by its having injected hate and prejudice into the relationship."

Trip participant Mehran Etemadi, the mayor of Shiraz, told Iran’s official news agency IRNA that such a visit was not on the group’s official itinerary for the trip, which was cleared in advance with the Iranian Embassy in Berlin, the German news agency DPA reported. 

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