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Germany Condemns Holocaust Cartoon Contest in Iran

FILE - Iranian journalist Elahe Khosravi, reads Iranian daily newspaper Hamshahri, in Tehran, Iran on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2006. The prominent Iranian newspaper said it would hold a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust to test whether the West extends the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide as it did to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Germany is condemning a contest in Iran for cartoons depicting the Holocaust, saying it sows hatred and deepens divisions in the Middle East.

The event was organized by non-governmental bodies with support from Iran's hard-liners. A previous contest in 2006 got a boost from then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who referred to the Holocaust as a “myth.”

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Wednesday that “the murder of 6 million men, women and children during the Holocaust, for which we Germans bear guilt and responsibility, must not be abandoned to ridicule.”

Schaefer said German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier made clear during a February visit to Tehran that no further such competition should take place, and that it was “very regrettable” it went ahead.

Israel's prime minister has condemned the contest.