TEHRAN-After years of antisemitic remarks, denying the Holocaust, and recently, in front of hundreds of college students who "know better", stating that Iran has a gay population of 0, controversial Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made possibly his most stunning proclamation yet—that there is not, and never has been, a Santa Claus.

"The idea that an obese man wearing all red delivers toys to children in the night…is preposterous," he stated Friday, later scorning the small child who inquired as to the existence of Santa. "It is silly, childish nonsense, like the Easter Bunny and homosexuals."

The anti-Santatic (Santaic?) statement came in the midst of difficult times for the 50-year-old Iranian president, who upon his return to Iran after visiting the United States endured harsh criticism from his opponents, many of whom are college-aged students. "If Columbia students get to laugh at him," one 20-year-old protester asked, "why can't we? Their football team is terrible!"

Ahmadinejad's remarks caused a backlash from the pro-Santa community. Protesters lined the streets, shouting "Santa Hater!" and reciting chants with clever puns, such as, "Why does he hate Santa? Be-Claus he's jealous!"

Ahmadinejad regrets even addressing the question. "I was talking about strengthening Iran-Russia relations, then this Santa thing came up! Why? It's not even relevant!"

Santa Claus could not be reached for comment