Amid Protests, Iran President Denies Holocaust

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In a move likely to draw the ire of both Israel and the West, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday once again dismissed the holocaust as myth - saying it was merely "a false pretext to create Israel."

This came as a group of Iranian hard-liners attacked a reformist former president Mohammad Khatami as he marched along side the opposition in an anti-government rally in Tehran.

The Jerusalem Post reported that thousands of government supporters and opposition activists took to the streets simultaneously marking Quds Day - an annual event meant to condemn Israel and express support for the people of Palestine.

Opposition demonstrators filled the streets since mid-morning sporting green T-shirts and green wristbands - a color symbolizing the opposition movement - chanting "Death to the Dictator."

The day before, Iran's Revolutionary Guard cautioned opposition protesters against holding anti-government rallies. They warned the protestors that such action would be met with "strong confrontation."

During the march Ahmadinejad addressed government supporters saying that "confronting the Zionist regime is a national and religious duty," and that Israel "has no future."

In addition, he accused Israel of rousing foreign-based Iranian groups to stage rallies protesting his re-election. The hard-line leader also claimed Israel planned to hold protests during his attendance next week at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

"Rest assured, Iranian people will not appreciate such a move," said Ahmadinejad.

It is customary on Quds Day for residents of Tehran to hold pro-Palestinian rallies in various parts of the city and later gather for the prayers ceremony. The ceremony was established in 1979 by Islamic Revolution leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

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