Claus Kleber, a well known journalist for ZDF, a tax-payer funded public station, aired a 45-minute interview with Ahmadinejad on the popular news channel. During the interview last week, Ahmadinejad stated the Holocaust is “a lie of Israel”, a statement which went unchallenged by the journalist. Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany.
German-Iranian scholar Dr. Wahied Wahdat-Hagh told the mass circulation Bild in Sunday’s article that the ZDF interview was “careless.”
“Ahmadinejad was able to present himself as a quite friendly head of state who presented Iran as the victim of an indiscriminate use of Israeli state power. The interview was celebrated as a great success in Iran and an unbelievable prize win for Ahmadinejad, and this was made possible by a broadcast from our publicly funded television!” he said.
Omid Nouripour, a Bundestag deputy for the Green Party who was born in Tehran, told Bild that the interview represents a “moral failure” of Claus Kleber.
German authorities chose not to purse violations of the country’s Holocaust denial law in 2008 against senior Iranian politician Mohammad Larijani for denying the Holocaust at a German Foreign Ministry event in Berlin. A year later, his brother, Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, issued statements containing elements of Holocaust denial at the annual Munich Security Conference, saying his country has “different perspectives on the Holocaust.”
While Germany enforces its anti-Holocaust denial law against neo-Nazis, the authorities fail to apply it to Iranian officials.