Damien McElroy — Telegraph.co.uk Oct 11, 2013
In the latest gesture to demonstrate that the country is taking a new diplomatic direction under new president Hassan Rouhani, officials ordered the cancellation of the New Horizon Conference due to take place next month.
The Iranian foreign ministry stepped in to cancel the event which was to have featured a former US senator among 63 overseas contributors to the meeting. The decision prompted a wave of hostile comment from hardliners associated with the meeting.
Mr Ahmadinejad caused international outrage by describing the Holocaust as a myth and calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map” a previous conference. But the notoriety of the event drew hordes of notorious extremists to Iran, including the US far-Right leader David Duke.
Foreign delegates at the meetings would queue to meet Mr Ahmadinejad.
By contrast his successor Mr Rouhani has made overtures to the West and in a recent interview acknowledged the historical tragedy of the Holocaust.
Hardliners believe that Mr Rouhani is selling out Iran and have attacked the new leader. Tensions between the new government and its domestic opposition were blamed for the hospitalisation of Mohammad Zarif, the foreign minister, with symptoms of stress on Wednesday.
Nader Talebzadeh, the principle organiser, said the cancellation of the conference was “a major mistake on the part of our government”.
Websites sympathetic to the organisers flooded with hostile comments.
“Have our leaders given in so much to the world that are even afraid of a conference that might hurt Mr Obama’s feelings? Mr. Zarif, is this the extent of your sense of patriotism? one user wrote.
“The latest piece from our government’s show of capitulation”, said another.
“What happened to our foreign policy slogan of prudence and honour? Replaced with compromise and humiliation?”