Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud

(1956- ).
   President of the Islamic Republic of Iran since 3 August 2005. He was trained as a civil engineer and was a professor at the Iran University of Science and Technology before being appointed mayor of Tehran from 3 May 2003 until 28 June 2005. As president, Ah-madinejad's provocative behavior with regard to Israel and the Jewish people in general served to exacerbate an already tense bilateral relationship between Israel and Iran. In October 2005, he gave a speech opposing Zionism and agreed with a statement he attributed to Ayatollah Khomeini that the "occupying regime must be wiped off the map" and referred to Israel as a "disgraceful stain [in] the Islamic world." In December 2005, Ahmadinejad also made several controversial statements regarding the Holocaust and the state of Israel, referring to the Holocaust as a "myth" and criticizing European laws against Holocaust denial. He said that although he does not know to what extent the Holocaust occurred, if it had in fact occurred, European countries should make amends to the Jewish people by giving them land to establish a state in Europe (Germany, Austria, or other countries), the United States, Canada, or Alaska instead of making the "innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime." He also hosted an international conference of major Holocaust revisionist historians. In October 2006, Ahmadinejad warned Europe that it was stirring up hatred in the Middle East by supporting Israel and that it "may get hurt" if the anger were to grow. Israel's view of Iran as an existential threat grew with the increase of Ahmadinejad's rhetoric.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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