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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Nazi Germany’s mass killing of Jews in World War II a “horrifying tragedy” in a German interview, underlining his government’s changed tone on the Holocaust.

Such mass murder should never be repeated, Zarif told broadcaster Phoenix in an interview at Berlin’s Adlon hotel, located next to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The interview, conducted in English, was dubbed into German by Phoenix with part of the original audible. The broadcaster didn’t provide an English transcript.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has distanced his government from the Holocaust denial of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In a CNN interview last September in New York, Rouhani condemned the Nazis’ wartime crimes against European Jews as “reprehensible and condemnable.”

Zarif said Islamic scripture forbids killing an individual, let alone many, according to Phoenix. He linked the issue to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, saying the subject should not be made a distraction to what he called human rights abuses against Palestinians in occupied territory.

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