Iran State-Media Claims CNN ‘Fabricated’ Rouhani Holocaust Remarks
It was reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had delivered what his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, never could — recognition that the Holocaust took place — but according to the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency significant parts of the report are inaccurate.
On CNN.com’s home page Wednesday morning, the main headline asserted that Rouhani, in an interview with network reporter Christiane Amanpour, said that the Holocaust happened: “Iran’s New President: Yes, the Holocaust Happened.”
Fars however, categorically denied the claim that Rouhani addressed the Holocaust by name, saying the network “fabricated” the story, adding the word ‘Holocaust,’ among other conciliatory phrases, to its translation.
Fars said: “The CNN aired its interview with Rouhani on Tuesday but the news channel added to or changed parts of his remarks when Christiane Amanpour asked him about the Holocaust.”
In the following translation, Fars claimed that the bold and underlined words were added to, or completely altered from, Rouhani’s original statement:
CNN’s Translation: “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”.
According to Fars, the exact translation of Rouhani’s comments is as follows:
Rouhani’s: “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.”
The CNN story traveled around the world quickly, FARS noted, writing, “After the CNN released the interview, hundreds of news agencies, TV and news channels, websites and weblogs broadcast this title: ‘Iran’s President Rouhani Calls Holocaust ‘Reprehensible’ Crime Against Jews,’ a title quoted from the CNN; Or ‘Rouhani Recognizes the Holocaust as Crime against Jews.'”
Reuters, for example, headlined its article: “Rouhani Recognizes Holocaust As Crime Against Jews.” In an earlier interview with NBC, Rouhani declined to comment on whether the Holocaust took place.
Responding to the allegations, a CNN public relations manager pointed a finger back at the Iranians saying, “The translator was hired by the Iranians.”
“We re-voiced/dubbed exactly as she translated,” the spokesperson said and pledged that CNN would publish the entire 56 minutes of the interview Wednesday.
In the past, the Fars agency has been caught publishing questionable reports. In 2012 the authenticity of an interview Fars published with then Egyptian president Morsi was challenged by local media outlets. In September of that year Fars picked up an article from satirical newspaper The Onion, which reported on a fabricated poll showing that an overwhelming majority of rural white Americans would rather vote for then Iranian President Ahmadinejad over President Obama in the upcoming U.S. general election.
Liza McGuirk Executive Producer of Amanpour’s show did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment.
When contacted by The Algemeiner the Israeli prime minister’s office declined to comment on the matter.
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include the Fars agency’s translation of Rouhani’s comments and a response to the report from CNN.