The Iranian government of newly-elected President Hassan Rouhani has cancelled this year’s anti-Zionism conference established by his more conservative predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian websites have reported. The conference was called off in an effort to map out trouble-free diplomatic relations with the West. Organiser Nader Talebsadah was reported to have described the decision as “a disaster”.
When elected, observers expected that reformist Rouhani would take dramatic measures to reform Iranian relations with the international community. On Friday, Iranian website Jahnnews.com reported that the Foreign Ministry scrapped the conference because it was seen as undermining the government’s policy of “interaction with the outside world”.
Ahmadinejad used the annual conference as an occasion to showcase his anti-Zionist sentiments and win the support of Muslims who believe that Israel’s violations against Palestinians are illegal and unjust. The conference was held for the first time in 2005, when Ahmadinejad uttered his infamous remark that “Israel has to be wiped off the map”.