Iranian official denies ‘genocide’ remark
Iranian Vice President Hamid Baghaei denied Sunday that he made comments regarding the 1915 killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, Hürriyet reported.
"We are rejecting the news reports attributed to me in some media outlets," Baghaei was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.
His remarks came after Turkey demanded a high-level explanation from Tehran when news reports quoted the Iranian official as terming the events of 1915 as "genocide" during a conference. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu spoke late Friday with his Iranian counterpart, Manouchehr Mottaki, who told him that Iran's position was in line with Turkey's stance on the issue.
However, Mottaki's assurance was not satisfying for Ankara as Davutoğlu told a group of journalists in the Central Anatolian province of Karaman that he was asking for clarification from Baghaei himself.
At a press conference Sunday, Baghaei said the conference that took place last Wednesday on the 70th anniversary of Iran's occupation by the U.S., Russia and Britain during World War II focused on Iranian attempts in international platforms to follow up on the damage it sustained during the war.
"The conference was about this issue," he said. "Some press outlets reported that I made comments, took a stance and made an exclusive analysis on disputes between some countries like Turkey and Armenia. But I am denying this," said the official.
He repeated that he did not evaluate a legal case between Turkey and Armenia. "It was not a topic of the conference." Baghaei said, citing the growing ties between Turkey and Iran. "Today we have a very strategic, very solid and strong relationship with Turkey. We respect Turkey, which is one of the most important countries in the region."