US Republican candidate Rich Iott in Nazi uniform row

at the US Capitol building in Washington The Iott controversy comes ahead of the mid-term elections in November

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A Republican politician in the US has been criticised after pictures of him dressed in a Nazi uniform emerged on the internet.

Senior Republican figures have now sought to distance themselves from Rich Iott, a House candidate from Ohio.

Mr Iott admitted being a member of a group that re-enacted SS battles.

But he said he had been involved in re-enacting from many different eras and did not mean "any disrespect to anyone" in the US military.

Repudiation

Several photographs show Mr Iott posing as an officer in the Waffen SS - the combat wing of Hitler's feared Schutzstaffel.

The pictures first appeared on the website of Wiking, a re-enactment group based in America's mid-west.

Mr Iott, who uses the character name Reinhard Pferdmann, has admitted being a member of Wiking, saying it was a "purely historical interest".

And in a statement on his website, Mr Iott said: "Never, in any of my re-enacting of military history, have I meant any disrespect to anyone who served in our military or anyone who has been affected by the tragedy of war, especially the Jewish community.

"Historical re-enacting is a hobby enjoyed by millions of men - and women - around the world. I have been involved in historical re-enacting from many different eras since I was in college."

Mr Iott also posted several photographs which showed him dressed in a US World War I uniform and also in a Union uniform during a Civil War re-enactment.

Despite this, the situation is now making some in the Republican Party uncomfortable, the BBC's Ian Mackenzie in Washington says.

On Sunday, Republican whip Eric Cantor said he repudiated Mr Iott's actions.

"I do not support anything like this," he told Fox News on Sunday.

The Iott controversy comes amid growing concern in the Republican party about the views of some candidates for the mid-term elections in November, our correspondent says.

He adds that the growth of the conservative Tea Party movement has left them with one would-be senator who has questioned the civil rights legislation in the 1960s, while another confessed to dabbling in witchcraft and suggested scientists were implanting full human brains into mice.

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