History has unleashed its share of lunatics who end up running countries, but it is now clear that we are watching an unfolding present-day horror movie of one of the most outrageous examples of the species. His name is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (pronounced ah-ma-deen-ah-ZHAD), he is the president of Iran, and he is a nutcase of the most dangerous kind.

Ahmadinejad is this week presiding over an “international conference” in Tehran to “debate” the existence of the Holocaust and the death of six million Jews. “The creation of the Zionist regime and turning the Holocaust into propaganda has become an instrument for the United States and Britain to dominate the Middle East,” Ahmadinejad told the conference, adding that “as the Soviet Union disappeared, the Zionist regime will also vanish and humanity will be liberated”.

These obscene comments are consistent with his previous description of the Holocaust as a “Zionist myth” and his calls for Israel to be wiped off the map. He later organised an international competition for cartoonists to draw pictures of the Holocaust.

Of course, the last time we heard that kind of talk from a “world leader” there was no need to convene a “conference” to debate the existence of the Holocaust because that leader was himself planting the seeds that created the Holocaust. The echoes of seven decades ago are scary – and real.