Vatican official slams Iran over Holocaust remark

ROME (Reuters) – A senior Vatican cardinal on Thursday sharply criticised Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for claiming the Holocaust was a myth, condemning the assertion as a shocking injustice to the victims of the Nazi genocide.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who, like Pope Benedict, is German, launched a specific attack on Ahmadinejad in a speech accepting an award from an international Jewish organisation.

“It is shocking to hear from the mouth of the president of a nation with an ancient and venerable culture, as the Iranian nation is, expressions of anti-Semitism which for every human being are unacceptable,” he said.

“To call the Holocaust a myth is a new injustice to the victims of this unprecedented genocide,” he said.

The Vatican criticised previous anti-Israel comments by Ahmadinejad, but the language used by Kasper, who is close to the Pope, was especially strong.