U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iranian Foreign Minister Javid Zarif of "echoing Hitler's call for genocide" in a Friday morning tweet regarding an Iranian push for what organizers call a "final solution" referendum aimed at creating an official Palestinian state.
That terminology was used by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
"Incredible that @JZarif and Iran’s Supreme Leader are echoing Hitler’s call for genocide," Pompeo wrote. "This depravity should dispel any notion the regime belongs in the community of nations. We stand with Germany and Israel against this oldest & most vile form of hatred, and say #NeverAgain."
Pompeo's post came on Quds Day, a holiday held in Iran toward the end of the month of Ramadan meant to express support for Palestinians and opposition to Israel's existence. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei went on a Quds Day Twitter rant earlier Friday morning, comparing Israel to a "cancerous tumor" and the coronavirus.
The tweet from Zarif that Pompeo was referring to in his post included a veiled reference to Nazi Germany's genocide against the Jewish people.
"Disgusting that those whose civilization found a 'Final Solution' in gas chambers attack those who seek a real solution at the ballot box, through a REFERENDUM," Zarif said. "Why are US and West so afraid of democracy? Palestinians should not have to pay for your crimes, or for your guilt."
This tweet was posted above a promotional image for the proposed referendum, which said: "The final solution: Resistance until referendum"
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also responded earlier this week to the "final solution" language Iran has used in its push for a ballot referendum for a Palestinian state.
"Khamenei's threats to realize the 'final solution' against Israel are reminiscent of the Nazi 'final solution' plan for the destruction of the Jewish people," Netanyahu said in a tweet, which was translated from Hebrew. "He must know that any regime that threatens Israel with extermination will find itself in similar danger."
The U.S. earlier this week imposed sanctions on a handful of Iranian people and entities, aiming to "pressure ... Iran to treat its own people with dignity and respect."
"In addition to human rights abuses inside its own borders, Iran has a long track record of assassinations and terrorism in other countries," Pompeo said in a statement on the sanctions.
He continued: "In an effort to hide evidence of the regime’s abuses against its own people, Iran imposed a near-total shutdown of access to the global Internet last November, placing nearly all of its 80 million people in digital darkness for a week while security forces killed as many as 1,500 people and arbitrarily detained thousands more. The Iranian regime has long restricted access to the Internet while censoring and inhibiting rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly – two universal human rights."