At least two former Iranian nuclear negotiators joined with Holocaust deniers, 9/11 truthers, and anti-Semites from across the globe this week in Tehran for Iran's second annual New Horizons conference, an anti-American hate fest that U.S. lawmakers say highlights the country's dangerous duplicity.
Among those in attendance at the conference—which the U.S. State Department admitted it was not even aware of—were notorious Holocaust deniers, American anti-Israel activists, and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's closest adviser.
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They were joined by two of Iran's former nuclear negotiators, Saeed Jalili and Ali Asghar Soltanieh, both of whom were once responsible for inking a deal with the West over Tehran's contested nuclear program.
The presence Jalili and Soltanieh triggered concern on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers warned that this is another sign that Tehran cannot be trusted to deal honestly in ongoing nuclear talks, which have been extended through November.
As the Obama administration continues to provide billions of dollars in sanctions relief to Tehran in a bid to foster a final nuclear deal, some in Congress say that the White House is letting itself be fooled into backing a bad deal with Iran.
"The so-called ‘New Horizon’ conference in Tehran proves why the current Iranian regime under President Hassan Rouhani is, at its core, no less extremist and dangerous than the regime under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad," Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) said in a statement.
"The conference’s participants promoted anti-Americanism, anti-Semitism, and Holocaust denial, and were even greeted on day one by high-ranking Iranian cleric Mohsen Ghomi, a close adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who falsely alleged that ‘American officials are puppets of the Zionist lobby,’" Kirk said.
"It’s critical that U.S. administration officials, who are desperately offering ever more dangerous nuclear concessions to get Iran to accept a watered-down nuclear deal, open their eyes to the true nature of the current Iranian regime," he said.
Perhaps more concerning, the U.S. State Department told reporters on Thursday that they did not know the conference was taking place, despite multiple reports in U.S. and foreign newspapers.
"Have you seen this conference that the Iranians are putting on right now which is all about how Israel and the CIA conspired to—for 9/11 and all this," a reporter asked State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki at Thursday's daily briefing.
"I have not seen reports of this conference. Where is the conference?" Psaki asked the reporter.
Asked if she had any concerns about the conference’s explicit anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism, Pskaki responded: "We will look into that."
"It's alarming that the State Department's spokesperson had no idea that this hate-filled festival in Tehran was even going on," one former Republican House staffer said. "It's even more appalling that the administration has done little, if anything, to condemn either the Iranian government or American citizens who traveled to the capital city of the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism to compare notes with the world's worst Holocaust deniers, 9/11-conspiracy theorists, and anti-Semites."
The conference included multiple sessions about the "myth" of the Holocaust, as well as one discussion of how American and the West cannot be trusted in nuclear talks.
Other topics included: "9/11 and the Holocaust as pro-Zionist ‘Public Myths’," "Mossad’s Role in the 9/11 Coup d’Etat," "9/11 Truth Movement Strategies and the Zionism Issue," and "9/11 Truth Movement Strategies and the Zionism Issue," according to information provided by Kirk's office about the confab.
Those who attended the event traveled from several Western countries, including America, a fact that raises concerns about how these citizens were permitted to travel to and from the unfriendly country.
Among those American who attended the Tehran hate fest were anti-Israel Codepink activist Medea Benjamin and conspiracy theorist blogger Garth Porter.
Others in attendance included former Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members, 9/11 truthers Wayne Madsen and Kevin Barrett, anti-Semitic French entertainer Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, and a slew of other Holocaust deniers from multiple countries.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a press conference with President Obama at the White House earlier this week, warned the president against giving into Iran's demands.
"Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you’ve worked so hard to put in place, and leave it as a threshold nuclear power," Netanyahu said. "I fervently hope that under your leadership that would not happen."