Iran is holding yet another Holocaust denial cartoon contest this weekend in which artists will display work mocking and denying the genocide of six million Jews and other minorities.
The exhibit, which first took place in 2006, has already received over 800 submissions from artists in 50 different countries, Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency announced late last year.
Despite the UN protesting the event, it was also moved from June to May 14, to coincide with Nakba Day, or “catastrophe day,” celebrated by Palestinians the day after Israeli Independence Day.
Up to 100 shortlisted works of art will be displayed alongside another exhibit featuring 50 profile cartoons relating to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Two organizations with ties to the Iranian regime’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and propaganda arm — Owj Media & Cultural Institute and The Sarcheshmeh Cultural Center — are sponsoring the event, IranWire reported.
Three prizes will be awarded, ranging from $5,000-$12,000, according to Voice of America.
In January, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova complained to Iran condemning the government’s role in facilitating a festival that is “completely opposed to the spirit of UNESCO and to actual programs and publications that UNESCO has been putting out for decades,” she said in a statement.
In an interview with The New Yorker in April, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denied allegations that he or President Hassan Rouhani had any involvement in the cartoon contest’s planning.
“Don’t consider Iran a monolith. The Iranian government does not support, nor does it organize, any cartoon festival of the nature that you’re talking about,” Zarif said.
Despite Zarif’s statements, the Iranian regime and President Rouhani’s predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have denied the Holocaust in the past and the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei published a video to his website on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day denying the Holocaust.
“It’s not Iran. It’s an N.G.O. that is not controlled by the Iranian government. Nor is it endorsed by the Iranian government,” Zarif added.
“The global community and the people of Iran deserve an unequivocal denouncement of this Holocaust cartoon contest,” said Tad Stahnke, Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Initiative on Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism.