Rouhani Interview Row: CNN Admits Using Iranian Translator But Says no Mistranslation Occurred

CNN recently made news when it reported that in a break with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani admitted that the Holocaust actually occurred during WWII. Now Iranian authorities are claiming that CNN mistranslated their president’s words. To muddy the waters further CNN admits they used an Iranian government translator and didn’t have their own translators for the interview. Nonetheless, the cabler maintains that its translation is accurate.

According to the FARS News Agency, a government-run news service, CNN “fabricated” the Iranian president’s remarks about the Holocaust.

FARS says that Rouhani did not even use the word “Holocaust,” but instead said “historical event,” and therefore didn’t really recognize it as CNN claims.

In reply to the question asked by CNN host Christiane Amanpour, FARS claims that Rouhani said: “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…”

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But CNN has a different translation. In CNN’s story Rouhani says, “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.”

The Iranian news agency also says that Rouhani did not use the word “reprehensible.”

As CNN had it, Rouhani said, “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.”

But FARS denies that, saying Rouhani instead said, “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.”

FARS claims that CNN made several “conceptual” mistakes in its translation on top of the totally fabricated parts.

Who ever said what, one odd aspect of the story is that CNN admits it used a translator hired by the Iranian government during the interview and did not rely on its own translator.

According theWashington Free Beacons CNN said that “the translator who worked on the interview was actually hired by the Iranian government.”

Why CNN carried out such a delicate and important interview without having a translator of its own is an interesting question.

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