Iranian interior minister says president's remarks 'misunderstood'

Iran's interior minister on Friday said widely condemned remarks by the Iranian president on Israel and the Holocaust had been "misunderstood" by Western governments. "Actually the case has been misunderstood," Mostafa Pur Mohammadi told The Associated Press, on the sidelines of an Athens conference on immigration.

"(President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) did not mean to raise this matter," the Iranian minister said. "He wanted to say that if certain people have created troubles for the Jewish community they should bear the expenses, and it is not others who should pay for that," he said, speaking through a translator.

On Wednesday, Ahmadinejad said in remarks carried live by state-run Iranian television that the Holocaust was a "myth" the Europeans used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world. "Today, they have created a myth in the name of Holocaust and consider it to be above God, religion and the prophets," he said.

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels Friday warned, in a draft statement, that the Iranian president's remarks could be grounds for sanctions against Iran.

"These comments are wholly unacceptable and have no place in civilized political debate," the draft statement said. Ahmadinejad first provoked an international outcry in October when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map,” reports the AP. I.L.

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