At last, Rouhani mentioned the holocaust.
In his recent interview with Christianne Amanpour he stated:
“I am not a historian and when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust it is the historians that should reflect,”.
Note the word “dimensions”. He is saying the holocaust did happen, but he is leaving it to the historians to decide its full extent.
Now we could say he is disputing the numbers. Thats a valid argument.
Yet, he did go on to say:
“Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews we condemn”.
So he is not saying that six millions were not killed. He is saying whatever the numbers, which could be six million or less, was a crime.
The next frustrating question is: why doesn’t he just put an end to this discussion by saying “Yes, six million were killed in the holocaust”. Because now others could say that by leaving out the exact numbers he is still disputing the holocaust.
The answer, which much like the question is also frustrating is that Rouhani works for a holocaust denier, called Ayatollah Khamenei. In Rouhani’s case what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas. In Iran the supreme leader and his allies are listening to and analyzing every word he utters at the UN.
Vegas is nice, but you always have to go back home to face the music. Rouhani did not want to gamble too much while he was away, as he has a boss to go back to in Tehran.
Which is also why in my opinion he refused to meet with the Americans, even though Obama was reportedly ready to do this.
To conclude, in my opinion, within the limitations that Rouhani faces from Khamenei & Co at home, and based on my understanding of nuances of double talk which is quite prevalent in Iranian politics, Rouhani recognized that the holocaust happened. On this question, he pushed the envelope as far as it could go, without endangering his position with Khamenei, who to him is far more important than Netanyahu or Obama.
However not everyone in the world is interested in understanding his limitations, or the nuances of Iranian political parlance. There are many people who lost their loved ones in the terrible tragedy that is the holocaust, and to them, the full, open recognition of that tragedy is far more important than the limitation which Rouhani faces. So the discussions are likely to continue.