Hundreds of people from Iran and around the globe submitted entries for the Islamic Republic's Second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest.
"839 artworks have also been sent to the secretariat, 686 of them have been sent to the cartoon section and 153 more are related to caricature section," Secretary Masud Shojaei-Tabatabaii told the Fars News Agency, marking the 2nd time since 2006 that the country has held the contest.
Organizers launched the cartoon contest centered on the theme of Holocaust denial in late January in response to French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's decision to publish caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed.
Shojaei-Tabatabaii said that a total of 312 artists had submitted works for the contest, including 104 Iranian artists as well as 208 artists from foreign countries such as Brazil, France, Turkey and China.
In February, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, demanded that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN member countries condemn Iran's planned international cartoon contest on Holocaust denial.
“This contest legitimizes Holocaust denial and encourages Holocaust deniers to continue their incitement,” Prosor said. “It ridicules one of the darkest events in human history, and it cheapens the death of millions of Jews who were murdered. The horrors of the Holocaust are still fresh in the collective memory.”
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"The cartoon exhibition runs in contravention to the international community’s decision to perpetuate the memory of the Holocaust and to internalize its lessons," he wrote.
"If the UN wishes to remain loyal to its founding principles and values in which it believes, it is incumbent upon it to speak loudly against anti-Semitism," Prosor concluded.
The winner of the contest will receive a $12,000 cash prize and their cartoon will be shown at the Palestine Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran. Second and third place finalists will receive $8,000 and $5,000, respectively.
The first such contest was held in 2006, following Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten's publication of cartoons depicting Mohammed. At the time, it drew 1,200 submissions from all over the world.
Moroccan artist Abdellah Derkaoui won the contest with a cartoon depicting a crane emblazoned with a Star of David constructing a wall around Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque. The wall formed a black-and-white photograph of the former working camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.