Iranian news agency Fars on Wednesday accused CNN of "fabricating" comments made by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about the Holocaust in an interview with Christiane Amanpour that was aired on Tuesday.
Rouhani who was speaking in Farsi was quoted by CNN as saying: "Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews we condemn," and he added according to CNN, "The taking of human life is contemptible. It makes no difference if that life is Jewish life, Christian or Muslim. For us it is the same."
Fars, who provided its own translation of Rouhani's remarks claimed that the above quotes were fabrications of the American news network.
According to Fars, CNN either added, completely altered, executed a "conceptual" or not a precise translation or completely changed what Rouhani said.
Former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad often made inflammatory remarks denying the Holocaust. In Fars's translation of Rouhani's remarks to CNN there was an unequivocal condemnation of the Nazis' crimes both against Jews and non-Jews.
The Iranian news agency provided the Fars and the CNN translations side-by-side in order to demonstrate the alleged fabrications. The italicized words in the CNN text below are the remarks that Fars claimed were fabricated.
CNN translation of Rouhani remarks:
"I've said before that I am not a historian and then, when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust, it is the historians that should reflect on it. But in general I can tell you that any crime that happens in history against humanity, including the crime that Nazis committed towards the Jews as well as non-Jews is reprehensible and condemnable. Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews, we condemn, the taking of human life is contemptible, it makes no difference whether that life is Jewish life, Christian or Muslim, for us it is the same, but taking the human life is something our religion rejects but this doesn’t mean that on the other hand you can say Nazis committed crime against a group now therefore, they must usurp the land of another group and occupy it. This too is an act that should be condemned. There should be an even-handed discussion".
Fars translation of Rouhani remarks:
"I have said before that I am not a historian and historians should specify, state and explain the aspects of historical events, but generally we fully condemn any kind of crime committed against humanity throughout the history, including the crime committed by the Nazis both against the Jews and non-Jews, the same way that if today any crime is committed against any nation or any religion or any people or any belief, we condemn that crime and genocide. Therefore, what the Nazis did is condemned, (but) the aspects that you talk about, clarification of these aspects is a duty of the historians and researchers, I am not a history scholar."
Amanpour replied to the accusations on her Twitter feed, insisting that "CNN reported exactly what Rouhani said" and providing a link to a video of the full unedited interview.
She also responded to a report on The Wall Street Journal on the controversy, saying she was "stunned by willingness of @WSJ ed page and others to jump into bed with Iranian extremist mouthpiece like Fars."
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported on Thursday that advisers and analysts close to the government in Tehran said that following the conciliatory statements and gestures by the Iranian president to the West over the past few weeks, "the excitement had gotten out of hand."
“We need to gain something from the Americans, before we pose and smile with them,” the Times quoted Hamid-Reza Taraghi, an official who is according to the report one of the few trusted to interpret the speeches of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. “Of course, Mr. Rouhani also needed to convince some at home that he is not making any wild moves,” Taraghi said.
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