Official Iranian news agency FARS said Thursday that CNN misrepresented Iranian President Hasan Rouhani's statements in an interview with the network's Christiane Amanpour, saying the network added the words "Holocaust" and "reprehensible" to its translation.
“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,” FARS said.
The CNN version of Rouhani's remarks was as follows:
“I’ve said before that I am not a historian and that 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...”
FARS said the real version is this:
“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 Daily Beast noted that Rouhani "employed the old Holocaust deniers' tricks of 'questioning' the death toll [of the Holocaust], averring that many others groups were also victims, and claiming that a well-established historical fact requires further examination by 'historians and researchers,' while repeatedly pointing out that he is 'not a historian.'"
Rouhani has been presented as a moderate in comparison to his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While Ahmadinejad was an out-and-out Holocaust denier, it was hoped by many that Rouhani's apparently more moderate statements regarding the Holocaust are a sign that he will bring about a change in Iran's policy toward Israel. However, FARS's clarification appears to take much of the wind out of these hopes.