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CNN Accused of Falsely Translating Iranian President

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.

27 Responses to CNN Accused of Falsely Translating Iranian President

  1. I wonder what Geraldo Rivera would think of this. I saw him on Fox this morning and the clip of his interview with Iran’s FM Mohammed Zarif. The moron was positively glowing with his love and admiration for Iran.

  2. Kilmeade shot back that Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, met with Louis Farrakhan but rejected an offer of an “encounter” with Obama.

    “I applaud your skepticism,” Rivera agreed. “But you have to admit, Brian, that this is a far more optimistic possible scenario than what we’ve been going through for the last four decades, right?”

    “As an experienced war correspondent, as a person who cares deeply about Israel — and Israel’s so profoundly concerned about Iran’s nuclear weapons — I have to say that this is the most optimistic development in my entire career since 1979,” he continued.


    I wonder if for one second he’s considered the likelihood that this is just a stalling tactic, a chance to get some sanctions lifted while the regime continues to enrich uranium and build the delivery systems in its underground bunkers.

  3. CNN wonders why they are no longer relevant. Are they that stupid that someone who is bilingual would listen and dispute it? Perhaps, they think so little of their audience who will believe anything they are told.

    It reminds me of NBC’s Today editing the 911 call of George Zimmerman. They were so stupid to believe no one would listen to the tape. Perhaps, Zimmerman owes them so gratitude because it certainly changed opinions in favor of him for being railroaded.

  4. What possible motive would inspire CNN to misinterpret what Rouhai said about the Holocaust? If their goal was to present the Iranians as being more moderate, less anti-Israel, and open for discussions that would lift the sanctions that are making their lives miserable, then they failed.
    No one believes that any Islamist nation is moderate in their view of the non-Muslim world. When the topic turns to the Jewish state of Israel, their hatred can’t be denied, or twisted into something supportive no matter how the MSM tries to portray them.

    What the Iranians believe happened in WWII doesn’t matter; we know what happened, because Americans were witness to the atrocity and the survivors (and their families) can testify to the horror of the German Holocaust.

  5. Usually when someone complains about an inaccurate translation it’s because it makes him or her look bad.

    To the civilized world, acknowledging that the Holocaust took place, and that its chief victims were Jews, is a good thing.

    To Holocaust deniers, CNN’s translation and inclusion of the word is a direct refutation of their ideology.

    I said the other day that Frisbee’s tap-dancing was problematic, and that his down-playing of the number of Jews is just another tactic of deniers. With the accurate translation, and Frisbee’s saying that “a group of Jewish people” were killed, in mind, I gotta’ say that Iran’s not backed down.

    I wonder when David Duke will visit Iran again.

  6. I can’t understand what CNN’s motives would be in doing this except to portray, as directed by this administration, that there is a sort of Iranian Spring going on since Rouhani has taken over. The fact that she’s married to Jamie Rubin would indicate close administration ties. Amanpour herself went off the rails in support of Obama when the country and the Congress were against supplying the Syrian rebels with aid. The incest between the administration and the media is unprecedented.

    I wonder what they make of Rouhani behind scenes, for example, his refusal to meet with Obama but his VIP dinner invitation to Louis
    Farakhan. Seems like a big slap in the face to me.

  7. srdem65 What the Iranians think of the past doesn’t matter?? That’s like Hilary saying about Benghazi “What does it matter now!” Both of these notions are sick. What matters even more though is that the Muslim world of which Iran is a major part, hates us, the USA, with a passion and want us dead and they are on record as wanting Israel wiped of the face of the earth.

    • I’m sorry I didn’t make my point clear; the Muslim world’s attitude toward Israel and the Jewish community is exposed every day. They hate Jews, deny that they’re even human by comparing them to apes, so of course they would deny that the Nazis were guilty of a heinous crime.
      The prominent, vocal Islamists have virtually shouted their desire to kill every Jew on earth. For them to admit that the Holocaust actually happened, would be to admit that a wrong was done and that won’t happen because that is their evil goal, too.

  8. Rouhani obviously was prepared for the question. He weaseled out of a direct answer by replying that he was ‘not a historian’. Shame on CNN for putting words into his mouth and perpetuating the lie on their website. BTW, is there a Farsi translation for the word ‘holocaust’?

    Rouhani is a Khamenei loyalist and cannot be trusted despite his ‘charm offensive’. Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism. Iran has already declared victory over Obama and his conciliatory speech of no regime change and their right to access ‘peaceful’ nuclear energy. All of this…and no handshake! Instead, it was dinner with Farrakhan! Nothing has changed except for the fact that we have a feckless naïf at the helm.