The Iranian state news agency Fars is accusing CNN of “fabricating” its translation of a CNN interview between correspondent Christine Amanpour and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and an independent analysis done for the Wall Street Journal finds CNN’s translation is in fact wrong.
The CNN translation suggests Rouhani accepts that the Nazis committed the Holocaust against the Jews, since he is portrayed as using the word “Holocaust” and referring to “the crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews.”
Backers of new negotiations with Iran over its nuclear weapons program, including some in the White House, believe Rouhani may be a new kind of “moderate” with whom a deal can be struck. But Rouhani’s unwillingness to confirm the Holocaust, coupled with his refusal this week to shake hands with President Obama, suggests he may be different only in style from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Rouhani spoke of “historical events,” not the Holocaust:
Our independent translation of Mr. Rouhani’s comments confirms that Fars, not CNN, got the Farsi right.
So what did Mr. Rouhani really say? After offering a vague indictment of “the crime committed by the Nazis both against the Jews and the non-Jews,” he insisted that “I am not a history scholar,” and that “the aspects that you talk about, clarification of these aspects is a duty of the historians and researchers.”
Here is the CNN translation:
AMANPOUR: One of the things your predecessor used to do from this very platform was deny the Holocaust and pretend that it was a myth. I want to know you, your position on the Holocaust.
Do you accept what it was?
And what was it?
ROUHANI: I have said before that I am not a historian personally and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust as such, it is the historians that should reflect on it.
But in general, I can tell you that any crime or – that happens in history against humanity, including the crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews, as well as non-Jewish people, is reprehensible and condemnable, as far as we are concerned.
Indeed, Rouhani’s effort to avoid the term “Holocaust” and lump the killings of Jews in with all other killings was in evidence again during a session Thursday with the Council on Foreign Relations. There, he said “a group of Jewish people” were among those killed:
We condemn the crimes by Nazis in the World War II and regrettably those crimes were committed against many groups, many people, many people were killed including a group of Jewish people.
CNN continues to offer the translation using the word “Holocaust” on its site.