TEHRAN, Iran – Iran on Sunday blamed pressure from Western governments and media for the decision by nearly 40 think-tanks to boycott the Iranian institute that hosted last week's Holocaust conference.
The head of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, Francois Heisbourg, said Saturday that the European and North American research institutes had decided to suspend contact with the Institute for Political and International Studies, a Tehran institute affiliated to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
Last week the IPIS convened a conference that questioned the existence of the Holocaust, provoking an international outcry. The United States, European Union and Israel denounced the conference, whose delegates included well-known Holocaust deniers and David Duke, a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Heisbourg issued a statement saying that "through its complicity with the deniers of the absolute evil that was the Holocaust, IPIS has now forfeited its status as an acceptable partner."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini cast doubt on the sincerity of the Western institutes' move on Sunday, telling reporters: "Probably this was decided under pressure from governments and Western media propaganda."
He said the IPIS was trying to convince the foreign think-tanks that the Dec. 11-12 conference had been a proper academic forum.
The conference was held at the instance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly said that Israel would be "wiped out" and the Nazi genocide against European Jews was a "myth."