CNN and Iran’s Fars News Agency are in something of a spat over comments made by Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani. In Christiane Amanpour‘s interview with Rouhani, he seemed to acknowledge that the Holocaust had happened, and condemned it as such. That comment, as Brooke Baldwin noted, was “explosive,” given previous comments by Iranian leaders.
Fars, which is a “semi-official” news agency, with ties to the government there, took issue with the translation that CNN aired, arguing that Rouhani said something quite different. On its site, Fars also pointed to the response Rouhani gave to NBC’s Ann Curry just a few days earlier, saying that his comments then were translated more precisely.
The Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple reports that CNN says the translator in question was provided by the Iranians. Fars responds that Amanpour is fluent in Farsi, and should have caught the alleged mistranslation.
Update: Politico talks to a Farsi speaker, who seems to confirm that the translation CNN used was correct, save for one word (albeit an important word): Holocaust.
But according to Arash Karami, a journalist with Al-Monitor who speaks Farsi, CNN’s English transcript appears to match the live interpretation of the interview provided by the Iranian translator — with one minor exception.
That exception: the use of the word “holocaust.”
“Live translation is a difficult thing and I don’t think it was done intentionally by the translator but Rouhani didn’t use the word ‘holocaust.’” Karami told POLITICO on Thursday. “That appears to be the only major distinction.”