President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's official Web site and Iran's state news agency have cut out any reference to homosexuals - including his comment that there are none in Iran - in their Farsi-language transcripts of his controversial appearance this week at Columbia University.
The decision not to include references to homosexuality in the Farsi transcripts reflect the sensitivity of the taboo issue in the conservative country.
In the question-and-answer portion of Ahmadinejad's appearance Monday at the New York university, the moderator asked the hardline leader why Iran denied women human rights and executes people who are homosexual.
Ahmadinejad first responded by saying Iranian people are free and capital punishment is reserved for people who violate the rights of others, such as drug traffickers.
But then, the moderator interrupts: "Mr. President, the question isn't about criminal and drug smugglers. The question was about sexual preference and women." Ahmadinejad then responded: "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country. We don't have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it."
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