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Iran plans Holocaust conference

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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran, whose president has labeled the attempt by Nazi Germany to exterminate Jews during World War II a "myth" and called for the destruction of Israel, announced Sunday it will hold a conference on the Holocaust.

"There will be a conference that will research the topic of the Holocaust and all its dimensions in the future," according to a statement on the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

The statement did not say when the meeting would take place or who would be involved but said it would be sponsored by Iran's Foreign Ministry and the Organization of the Islamic Conference "and in consultation with other countries to pursue this issue."

Last month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech, "They have invented a myth that Jews were massacred, and place this above God, religions and the prophets."

He added, "The West has given more significance to the myth of the genocide of the Jews."

He argued that the "myth" of the Holocaust served as Europe's pretext for the existence of Israel.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, President Bush, and many European officials condemned the remarks. Israeli officials also said Iran was ignoring the biblical Jewish homeland and thousands of years of Jewish history.

Ahmadinejad's remarks about the Holocaust and calls for the destruction of Israel play out in the showdown over his nation's nuclear intentions.

U.S. and European officials have expressed concern that Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon under the guise of restarting its nuclear reactors for peaceful energy purposes. Tehran insists it has the right to build nuclear fuel.

Britain, France and Germany -- the so-called EU-3, which conducted failed negotiations with Iran -- along with the United States want the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, to turn the issue over to the U.N. Security Council.

"The current president of Iran has announced that the destruction of Israel is an important part of their agenda, and that's unacceptable," President Bush said Friday at the White House, at an appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"And the development of a nuclear weapon, it seems like to me, would make him a step closer to achieving that objective."

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