A Canadian newspaper apologized on Wednesday for a story that said Iran planned to force Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive clothing to distinguish themselves from Muslims.
The conservative National Post ran the story on its front page last Friday along with a large photo from 1944 which showed a Hungarian couple wearing the yellow stars that the Nazis forced Jews to sew to their clothing.
The story, which included tough anti-Iran comments from prominent Jewish groups, was picked up widely by Web sites and by other media.
“Is Iran turning into the new Nazi Germany? Share your opinion online,” the paper asked readers last Friday.
But the National Post, a long-time supporter of Israel and critic of Tehran, admitted on Wednesday it had not checked the piece thoroughly enough before running it.
“It is now clear the story is not true,” National Post editor-in-chief Douglas Kelly wrote in a long editorial on page 2. “We apologize for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused not just National Post readers, but the broader public who read the story.”
The story was based on a column by Iranian expatriate writer Amir Taheri, who said a law being debated by Iran’s parliament would force Jews to sew a yellow strip of cloth to their clothes. Christians would wear a red strip while Zoroastrians would wear a blue one.
Iranian legislators dismissed the story.
The story and the column appeared at a time when the international community is pressuring Tehran over its nuclear program. Iran is also under fire for comments by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in which he doubted the scale of the Holocaust.
Asked about the Post story last Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Iran “is very capable of this kind of action.” He added: “It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the Earth would want to do anything that could remind people of Nazi Germany.”
A spokesman for Harper said the prime minister had started off his comments with the words “If this is true.