Obama: Iran should free Iranian-American journalist
Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:08pm BST
PORT OF SPAIN, April 19 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday he was "deeply concerned" for the safety of imprisoned Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi and urged Tehran to free her, saying he was confident she was not involved in spying.
"Obviously I'm gravely concerned with her safety and well being," Obama told a news conference in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where he was attending the Fifth Summit of the Americas.
"We are working to make sure that she is properly treated and to get information about the disposition of her case. She is an American citizen and I have complete confidence that she was not engaging in any sort espionage," he added. "She is an Iranian-American who was interested in the country which her family came from and it is appropriate for her to be treated as such and be released."
He said Washington would be in touch with Tehran about the case through Swiss intermediaries. (Reporting by David Alexander, editing by Jackie Frank)
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's president said Sunday that an American journalist convicted of spying for the U.S. should be allowed to offer a full defense during her appeal, a day after she was sentenced to eight years in prison.
The message was a sign that Iran's leadership does not want the case to derail moves toward a dialogue with the Obama administration to break a 30-year diplomatic deadlock.
Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to Tehran's chief prosecutor instructing him to personally ensure that "suspects be given all their rights to defend themselves" against the charges. "Prepare for the court proceedings ... to observe and apply justice precisely," the state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.
The letter came a day after Iran announced the conviction and sentence for Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen. It was the first time Iran has found an American journalist guilty of espionage, and her lawyer said he'll appeal.
President Barack Obama said Sunday he was "gravely concerned" about Saberi's safety and well-being and was confident she wasn't involved in espionage. The U.S. has called the charges baseless and said Iran would gain U.S. goodwill if it "responded in a positive way" to the case.
"She is an Iranian-American who was interested in the country which her family came from. And it is appropriate for her to be treated as such and to be released," Obama said.
Saberi's case has been an irritant in U.S.-Iran relations at a time when Obama is offering to start a dialogue between the longtime adversaries. A few days before her sentence was announced, Ahmadinejad gave the clearest signal yet that Iran, too, was ready for a new relationship with the U.S.
Ahmadinejad's letter also referred to Canadian-Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan, who has been in an Iranian prison since November on charges of insulting religious figures. Ahmadinejad requested the prosecutor also ensure that he be allowed to fully defend himself, IRNA reported.
Iran has released few details about the charges against the two. Saberi, who was born in Fargo, North Dakota, was arrested in January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But earlier this month, an Iranian judge leveled a more serious allegation that she was passing classified information to U.S. intelligence services.
She told her father in a phone conversation that she was arrested after buying a bottle of wine. Her father said she had been working on a book about Iranian culture and hoped to finish it and return to the U.S. this year.
Saberi, who was 1997 Miss North Dakota, had been living in Iran for six years and worked as a freelance reporter for news organizations including National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp. Because Saberi's father was born in Iranian, she received Iranian citizenship.
Her parents, who live in Fargo, traveled to Iran to seek her release. Her father, Reza Saberi, has said his daughter wasn't allowed a proper defense during her one-day trial behind closed doors a week ago. He said no evidence has been made public, and his daughter was tricked into making incriminating statements by officials who told her they would free her if she did.
He told CNN on Sunday that her trial lasted only 15 minutes. "It was a mock trial," he said.
One Iranian analyst said Ahmadinejad's letter was politically motivated and suggested Iran could be using Saberi's case to gain leverage with the U.S.
"Iran can use Saberi's case as a bargaining card in possible negotiations with the U.S.," said analyst Saeed Leilaz.
The United States severed diplomatic relations with Iran after its 1979 Islamic revolution and takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Relations deteriorated further under former President George W. Bush, who labeled Iran as part of the so-called "Axis of Evil."
Iran has been mostly lukewarm to the Obama administration's overtures until Ahmadinejad's comment last week that he was ready for a new start.
It was unclear how far Iran's ruling hard-line clerics and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are willing to go to achieve better ties. Some of Iran's hard-liners, including those who dominate the country's judiciary, don't want warmer ties with the U.S. and are trying to derail efforts, analysts say.
The Saberi case "shows that the judiciary and Ahmnadinejad have not reached an agreement over ties with the West," said Sergey Barseqian, another Iranian analyst.
Saberi's conviction also comes about two months ahead of key presidential elections in June that are pitting hard-liners against reformists, who support better relations with Washington. Ahmadinejad is seeking re-election, but the hard-liner's popularity has waned and he's been trying to draw support away from reformists.
Ahmadinejad was scheduled to meet Sunday with the president of Switzerland at a U.N. racism conference in Geneva. Though it wasn't known what they'd discuss, Switzerland represents the United States' diplomatic interests in Iran. Obama said Sunday that Washington would be in contact with Iran about Saberi through its Swiss intermediaries.
Good article Pintu. It says it all.
This is the most important line....................... One Iranian analyst said Ahmadinejad's letter was politically motivated and suggested Iran could be using Saberi's case to gain leverage with the U.S.
Does Iran's President Want Israel Wiped Off The Map - Does He Deny The Holocaust?
An analysis of media rhetoric on its way to war against Iran - Commenting on the alleged statements of Iran's President Ahmadinejad .
By Anneliese Fikentscher and Andreas Neumann
Translation to English: Erik Appleby
04/19/06 "Kein Krieg!" -- -- - "But now that I'm on Iran, the threat to Iran, of course -- (applause) -- the threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel. That's a threat, a serious threat. It's a threat to world peace; it's a threat, in essence, to a strong alliance. I made it clear, I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally, Israel, and -- (applause.)" George W. Bush, US-President, 2006-03-20 in Cleveland (Ohio) in an off-the-cuff speech (source: Welcome to the White House) But why does Bush speak of Iran's objective to destroy Israel?
Does Iran's President wants Israel wiped off the map?
To raze Israel to the ground, to batter down, to destroy, to annihilate, to liquidate, to erase Israel, to wipe it off the map - this is what Iran's President demanded - at least this is what we read about or heard of at the end of October 2005. Spreading the news was very effective. This is a declaration of war they said. Obviously government and media were at one with their indignation. It goes around the world.
But let's take a closer look at what Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said. It is a merit of the 'New York Times' that they placed the complete speech at our disposal. Here's an excerpt from the publication dated 2005-10-30:
"They say it is not possible to have a world without the United States and Zionism. But you know that this is a possible goal and slogan. Let's take a step back. [[[We had a hostile regime in this country which was undemocratic, armed to the teeth and, with SAVAK, its security apparatus of SAVAK [the intelligence bureau of the Shah of Iran's government] watched everyone. An environment of terror existed.]]] When our dear Imam [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Iranian revolution] said that the regime must be removed, many of those who claimed to be politically well-informed said it was not possible. All the corrupt governments were in support of the regime when Imam Khomeini started his movement. [[[All the Western and Eastern countries supported the regime even after the massacre of September 7  ]]] and said the removal of the regime was not possible. But our people resisted and it is 27 years now that we have survived without a regime dependent on the United States. The tyranny of the East and the West over the world should have to end, but weak people who can see only what lies in front of them cannot believe this. Who would believe that one day we could witness the collapse of the Eastern Empire? But we could watch its fall in our lifetime. And it collapsed in a way that we have to refer to libraries because no trace of it is left. Imam [Khomeini] said Saddam must go and he said he would grow weaker than anyone could imagine. Now you see the man who spoke with such arrogance ten years ago that one would have thought he was immortal, is being tried in his own country in handcuffs and shackles [[[by those who he believed supported him and with whose backing he committed his crimes]]]. Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map and this was a very wise statement. We cannot compromise over the issue of Palestine. Is it possible to create a new front in the heart of an old front. This would be a defeat and whoever accepts the legitimacy of this regime [Israel] has in fact, signed the defeat of the Islamic world. Our dear Imam targeted the heart of the world oppressor in his struggle, meaning the occupying regime. I have no doubt that the new wave that has started in Palestine, and we witness it in the Islamic world too, will eliminate this disgraceful stain from the Islamic world."
(source: The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia, based on a publication of 'Iranian Students News Agency' (ISNA) -- insertions by the New York Times in squared brackets -- passages in triple squared brackets will be left blank in the MEMRI version printed below)
It's becoming clear. The statements of the Iranian President have been reflected by the media in a manipulated way. Iran's President betokens the removal of the regimes, that are in power in Israel and in the USA, to be possible aim for the future. This is correct. But he never demands the elimination or annihilation of Israel. He reveals that changes are potential. The Shah-Regime being supported by the USA in its own country has been vanquished. The eastern governance of the Soviet Union collapsed. Saddam Hussein's dominion drew to a close. Referring to this he voices his aspiration that changes will also be feasible in Israel respectively in Palestine. He adduces Ayatollah Khomeini referring to the Shah-Regime who in this context said that the regime (meaning the Shah-Regime) should be removed.
Certainly, Ahmadinejad translates this quotation about a change of regime into the occupied Palestine. This has to be legitimate. To long for modified political conditions in a country is a world-wide day-to-day business by all means. But to commute a demand for removal of a 'regime' into a demand for removal of a state is serious deception and dangerous demagogy.
This is one chapter of the war against Iran that has already begun with the words of Georg Meggle, professor of philosophy at the university of Leipzig - namely with the probably most important phase, the phase of propaganda.
Marginally we want to mention that it was the former US Vice-Minister of Defence and current President of the World Bank, Paul D. Wolfowitz, who in Sept. 2001 talked about ending states in public and without any kind of awe. And it was the father of George W. Bush who started the discussion about a winnable nuclear war if only the survival of an elite is assured.
Let's pick an example: the German online-news-magazine tagesschau.de writes the following about Iran's president on 2005-10-27: "There is no doubt: the new wave of assaults in Palestine will erase the stigma in countenance of the Islamic world." Instead of using the original word 'wave' they write 'wave of assaults'. This replacement of the original text is what we call disinformation. E.g. it would be correct to say: "The new movement in Palestine will erase the stain of disgrace from the Islamic world." Additionally this statement refers to the occupation regime mentioned in the previous sentence.
As a precaution we will examine a different translation of the speech - a version prepared by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), located in Washington:
"They [ask]: 'Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?' But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved. [[[...]]] "'When the dear Imam [Khomeini] said that [the Shah's] regime must go, and that we demand a world without dependent governments, many people who claimed to have political and other knowledge [asked], 'Is it possible [that the Shah's regime can be toppled]?' That day, when Imam [Khomeini] began his movement, all the powers supported [the Shah's] corrupt regime [[[...]]] and said it was not possible. However, our nation stood firm, and by now we have, for 27 years, been living without a government dependent on America. Imam [Khomeni] said: 'The rule of the East [U.S.S.R.] and of the West [U.S.] should be ended.' But the weak people who saw only the tiny world near them did not believe it. Nobody believed that we would one day witness the collapse of the Eastern Imperialism [i.e. the U.S.S.R], and said it was an iron regime. But in our short lifetime we have witnessed how this regime collapsed in such a way that we must look for it in libraries, and we can find no literature about it. Imam [Khomeini] said that Saddam [Hussein] must go, and that he would be humiliated in a way that was unprecedented. And what do you see today? A man who, 10 years ago, spoke as proudly as if he would live for eternity is today chained by the feet, and is now being tried in his own country [[[...]]] Imam [Khomeini] said: 'This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.' This sentence is very wise. The issue of Palestine is not an issue on which we can compromise. Is it possible that an [Islamic] front allows another front [i.e. country] to arise in its [own] heart? This means defeat, and he who accepts the existence of this regime [i.e. Israel] in fact signs the defeat of the Islamic world. In his battle against the World of Arrogance, our dear Imam [Khomeini] set the regime occupying Qods [Jerusalem] as the target of his fight. I do not doubt that the new wave which has begun in our dear Palestine and which today we are also witnessing in the Islamic world is a wave of morality which has spread all over the Islamic world. Very soon, this stain of disgrace [i.e. Israel] will vanish from the center of the Islamic world - and this is attainable."
(source: MEMRI: The Middle East Media Research Institute, based on the publication of 'Iranian Students News Agency' (ISNA) -- insertions by MEMRI in squared brackets -- missing passages compared to the 'New York Times' in triple squared brackets)
The term 'map' to which the media refer at length does not even appear. Whereas the 'New York Times' said: "Our dear Imam said that the occupying regime must be wiped off the map" the version by MEMRI is: "Imam [Khomeini] said: This regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history."
MEMRI added the following prefixed formulation to their translation as a kind of title: "Very Soon, This Stain of Disgrace [i.e. Israel] Will Be Purged From the Center of the Islamic World - and This is Attainable". Thereby they take it out of context by using the insertion 'i.e. Israel' they distort the meaning on purpose. The temporal tapering 'very soon' does not appear in the NY-Times-translation either. Besides it is striking that MEMRI deleted all passages in their translation which characterize the US-supported Shah-Regime as a regime of terror and at the same time show the true character of US-American policy.
An independent translation of the original (like the version published by ISNA) yields that Ahmadinejad does not use the term 'map'. He quotes Ayatollah Khomeini's assertion that the occupation regime must vanish from this world - literally translated: from the arena of times. Correspondingly: there is no space for an occupation regime in this world respectively in this time. The formulation 'wipe off the map' used by the 'New York Times' is a very free and aggravating interpretation which is equivalent to 'razing something to the ground' or 'annihilating something'. The downwelling translation, first into English ('wipe off the map'), then from English to German - and all literally ('von der Landkarte löschen') - makes us stride away from the original more and more. The perfidious thing about this translation is that the expression 'map' can only be used in one (intentional) way: a state can be removed from a map but not a regime, about which Ahmadinejad is actually speaking.
Again following the independent translation: "I have no doubt that the new movement taking place in our dear Palestine is a spiritual movement which is spanning the entire Islamic world and which will soon remove this stain of disgrace from the Islamic world".
It must be allowed to ask how it is possible that 'spirtual movement' resp. 'wave of morality' (as translated by MEMRI) and 'wave of assaults' can be equated and translated (like e.g tagesschau.de published it).
Does Iran's President deny the Holocaust?
"The German government condemned the repetitive offending anti-Israel statements by Ahmadinejad to be shocking. Such behaviour is not tolerable, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated. [...] Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaimed Ahmadinejad's statements to be 'inconceivable'" (published by tagesschau.de 2005-12-14.
But not only the German Foreign Minister Steinmeier and the Federal Chancellor Merkel allege this, but the Bild-Zeitung, tagesschau.de, parts of the peace movement, US-President George W. Bush, the 'Papers for German and international politics', CNN, the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, almost the entire world does so, too: Iran's President Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust.
What is this assertion based on? In substance it is based on dispatches of 2 days - 2005-12-14 and 2006-02-11.
"The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up his verbal attacks against Israel and the Western states and has denied the Holocaust. Instead of making Israel's attacks against Palestine a subject of discussion 'the Western states devote their energy to the fairy-tale of the massacre against the Jews', Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday in a speech at Zahedan in the south-east of Iran which was broadcasted directly by the news-channel Khabar. That day he stated that if the Western states really believe in the assassination of six million Jews in W.W. II they should put a piece of land in Europe, in the USA, Canada or Alaska at Israel's disposal." - dispatch of the German press agency DPA, 2005-12-14.
The German TV-station n24 spreads the following on 2006-12-14 using the title 'Iran's President calls the Holocaust a myth': "The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stepped up his verbal attacks against Israel and called the Holocaust a 'myth' used as a pretext by the Europeans to found a Jewish state in the center of the Islamic world . 'In the name of the Holocaust they have created a myth and regard it to be worthier than God, religion and the prophets' the Iranian head of state said."
The Iranian press agency IRNA renders Ahmadinejad on 2005-12-14 as follows: "'If the Europeans are telling the truth in their claim that they have killed six million Jews in the Holocaust during the World War II - which seems they are right in their claim because they insist on it and arrest and imprison those who oppose it, why the Palestinian nation should pay for the crime. Why have they come to the very heart of the Islamic world and are committing crimes against the dear Palestine using their bombs, rockets, missiles and sanctions.' [...] 'If you have committed the crimes so give a piece of your land somewhere in Europe or America and Canada or Alaska to them to set up their own state there.' [...] Ahmadinejad said some have created a myth on holocaust and hold it even higher than the very belief in religion and prophets [...] The president further said, 'If your civilization consists of aggression, displacing the oppressed nations, suppressing justice-seeking voices and spreading injustice and poverty for the majority of people on the earth, then we say it out loud that we despise your hollow civilization.'"
There again we find the quotation already rendered by n24: "In the name of the Holocaust they created a myth." We can see that this is completely different from what is published by e.g. the DPA - the massacre against the Jews is a fairy-tale. What Ahmadinejad does is not denying the Holocaust. No! It is dealing out criticism against the mendacity of the imperialistic powers who use the Holocaust to muzzle critical voices and to achieve advantages concerning the legitimization of a planned war. This is criticism against the exploitation of the Holocaust.
CNN (2005-12-15) renders as follows: "If you have burned the Jews why don't you give a piece of Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska to Israel. Our question is, if you have committed this huge crime, why should the innocent nation of Palestine pay for this crime?"
The Washingtonian ''Middle East Media Research Institute' (MEMRI) renders Ahmadinejad's statements from 2005-12-14 as follows: "...we ask you: if you indeed committed this great crime, why should the oppressed people of Palestine be punished for it? * [...] If you committed a crime, you yourselves should pay for it. Our offer was and remains as follows: If you committed a crime, it is only appropriate that you place a piece of your land at their disposal - a piece of Europe, of America, of Canada, or of Alaska - so they can establish their own state. Rest assured that if you do so, the Iranian people will voice no objection."
The MEMRI-rendering uses the relieving translation 'great crime' and misappropriates the following sentence at the * marked passage: "Why have they come to the very heart of the Islamic world and are committing crimes against the dear Palestine using their bombs, rockets, missiles and sanctions." This sentence has obviously been left out deliberately because it would intimate why the Israeli state could have forfeited the right to establish itself in Palestine - videlicet because of its aggressive expansionist policy against the people of Palestine, ignoring any law of nations and disobeying all UN-resolutions.
In spite of the variability referring to the rendering of the statements of Iran's President we should nevertheless note down: the reproach of denying the Holocaust cannot be sustained if Ahmadinejad speaks of a great and huge crime that has been done to the Jews.
In another IRNA-dispatch (2005-12-14) the Arabian author Ghazi Abu Daqa writes about Ahmadinejad: "The Iranian president has nothing against the followers of Judaism [...] Ahmadinejad is against Zionism as well as its expansionist and occupying policy. That is why he managed to declare to the world with courage that there is no place for the Zionist regime in the world civilized community."
It's no wonder that such opinions do not go down particularly well with the ideas of the centers of power in the Western world. But for this reason they are not wrong right away. Dealing out criticism against the aggressive policy of the Western world, to which Israel belongs as well, is not yet anti-Semitism. We should at least to give audience to this kind of criticism - even if it is a problematic field for us.
2006-02-11 Ahmadinejad said according to IRNA: "[...] the real holocaust should be sought in Palestine, where the blood of the oppressed nation is shed every day and Iraq, where the defenceless Muslim people are killed daily. [...] 'Some western governments, in particular the US, approve of the sacrilege on the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), while denial of the >Myth of Holocaust<, based on which the Zionists have been exerting pressure upon other countries for the past 60 years and kill the innocent Palestinians, is considered as a crime' [...]"
The assertion that Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust thus is wrong in more than one aspect. He does not deny the Holocaust, but speaks of denial itself. And he does not speak of denial of the Holocaust, but of denial of the Myth of Holocaust. This is something totally different. All in all he speaks of the exploitation of the Holocaust. The Myth of Holocaust, like it is made a subject of discussion by Ahmadinejad, is a myth that has been built up in conjunction with the Holocaust to - as he says - put pressure onto somebody. We might follow this train of thoughts or we might not. But we cannot equalize his thoughts with denial of the Holocaust.
If Ahmadinejad according to this 2006-02-11 condemns the fact that it is forbidden and treated as a crime to do research into the Myth of Holocaust, as we find it quoted in the MEMRI translation, this acquires a meaning much different from the common and wide-spread one. If the myth related to the Holocaust is commuted to a 'Fairy Tale of the Massacre' - like the DPA did - this can only be understood as a malicious misinterpretation.
By the use of misrepresentation and adulteration it apparently succeeded to constitute the statements of the Iranian President to be part and parcel of the currently fought propaganda battle. It is our responsibility to counter this.
A dispatch by Reuters confirms 2006-02-21: "The Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki has [...] repudiated that his state would want the Jewish state Israel 'wiped off the map'. [...] Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been misunderstood. 'Nobody can erase a country from the map.' Ahmadinejad was not thinking of the state of Israel but of their regime [...]. 'We do not accredit this regime to be legitimate.' [...] Mottaki also accepted that the Holocaust really took place in a way that six million Jews were murdered during the era of National Socialism."
The next step is to connect the Iranian President with Hitler. 2006-02-20 the Chairman of the Counsil of Jews in France (Crif) says in Paris: "The Iranian President's assertions do not rank behind Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'". Paul Spiegel, President of the Central Counsil of Jews in Germany, 2005-12-10 in the 'Welt' qualifies the statements of Ahmadinejad to be "the worst comment on this subject that he has ever heard of a statesman since A. Hitler". At the White House the Iranian President is even named Hitler. And the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel as well moves over Iran's President towards Hitler and National Socialism by saying 2006-02-04 in Munich: "Already in the early 1930's many people said that it is only rhetoric. One could have prevented a lot in time if one had acted... Germany is in the debt to resist the incipiencies and to do anything to make clear where the limit of tolerance is. Iran remains in control of the situation, it is still in their hands."
All this indicates war. Slobodan Milosevic became Hitler. The result was the war of the Nato against Yugoslavia. Saddam Hussein became Hitler. What followed was the war the USA and their coalition of compliant partners waged against Iraq. Now the Iranian President becomes Hitler.
And someone who is Hitler-like can assure a hundred times that he only wants to use nuclear energy in a peaceful way. Nobody will believe him. Somebody like Hitler can act within the scope of all contracts. Acting contrary to contract will nevertheless be imputed to him. "Virtually none of the Western states recognize that uranium enrichment is absolutely legal. There is no restriction by contract or by the law of nations. Quite the contrary: Actually the Western countries would have the duty to assist Iran with these activities, according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. As long as a state renounces the bomb it is eligible for technical support by the nuclear powers." (Jörg Pfuhl, ARD radio studio Istanbul 2006-01-11) But - all this does not count if the Head of a state is stigmatized as Hitler.
I want to know If this article is true or Not. Read it long ago, but then again I want to know all your ideas on this article.
Please dont mind the source, like a great Journalist once told me "----- the Writer, Accept the FACT" What do you all think? I think Ahmednijad is a crackpot whether he denied the holocaust or not. But I find it strange that such a figure like him didnt Sack a Minister of his for saying that Iran and Israel can be friends! But then, the mullahs might be at play!
Iran's President Did Not Say "Israel must be wiped off the map"
By Arash Norouzi
01/18/07 "Information Clearing House" -- -- Across the world, a dangerous rumor has spread that could have catastrophic implications. According to legend, Iran's President has threatened to destroy Israel, or, to quote the misquote, "Israel must be wiped off the map". Contrary to popular belief, this statement was never made, as this article will prove.
On Tuesday, October 25th, 2005 at the Ministry of Interior conference hall in Tehran, newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a speech at a program, reportedly attended by thousands, titled "The World Without Zionism". Large posters surrounding him displayed this title prominently in English, obviously for the benefit of the international press. Below the poster's title was a slick graphic depicting an hour glass containing planet Earth at its top. Two small round orbs representing the United States and Israel are shown falling through the hour glass' narrow neck and crashing to the bottom.
Before we get to the infamous remark, it's important to note that the "quote" in question was itself a quote— they are the words of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution. Although he quoted Khomeini to affirm his own position on Zionism, the actual words belong to Khomeini and not Ahmadinejad. Thus, Ahmadinejad has essentially been credited (or blamed) for a quote that is not only unoriginal, but represents a viewpoint already in place well before he ever took office.
THE ACTUAL QUOTE:
So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in farsi: "Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad."
That passage will mean nothing to most people, but one word might ring a bell: rezhim-e. It is the word "Regime", pronounced just like the English word with an extra "eh" sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase "rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods" (regime occupying Jerusalem).
So this raises the question.. what exactly did he want "wiped from the map"? The answer is: nothing. That's because the word "map" was never used. The Persian word for map, "nagsheh", is not contained anywhere in his original farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. Nor was the western phrase "wipe out" ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran's President threatened to "wipe Israel off the map", despite never having uttered the words "map", "wipe out" or even "Israel".
The full quote translated directly to English:
"The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time".
Word by word translation:
Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).
While the false "wiped off the map" extract has been repeated infinitely without verification, Ahmadinejad's actual speech itself has been almost entirely ignored. Given the importance placed on the "map" comment, it would be sensible to present his words in their full context to get a fuller understanding of his position. In fact, by looking at the entire speech, there is a clear, logical trajectory leading up to his call for a "world without Zionism". One may disagree with his reasoning, but critical appraisals are infeasible without first knowing what that reasoning is.
In his speech, Ahmadinejad declares that Zionism is the West's apparatus of political oppression against Muslims. He says the "Zionist regime" was imposed on the Islamic world as a strategic bridgehead to ensure domination of the region and its assets. Palestine, he insists, is the frontline of the Islamic world's struggle with American hegemony, and its fate will have repercussions for the entire Middle East.
Ahmadinejad acknowledges that the removal of America's powerful grip on the region via the Zionists may seem unimaginable to some, but reminds the audience that, as Khomeini predicted, other seemingly invincible empires have disappeared and now only exist in history books. He then proceeds to list three such regimes that have collapsed, crumbled or vanished, all within the last 30 years:
(1) The Shah of Iran- the U.S. installed monarch
(2) The Soviet Union
(3) Iran's former arch-enemy, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein
In the first and third examples, Ahmadinejad prefaces their mention with Khomeini's own words foretelling that individual regime's demise. He concludes by referring to Khomeini's unfulfilled wish: "The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. This statement is very wise". This is the passage that has been isolated, twisted and distorted so famously. By measure of comparison, Ahmadinejad would seem to be calling for regime change, not war.
One may wonder: where did this false interpretation originate? Who is responsible for the translation that has sparked such worldwide controversy? The answer is surprising.
The inflammatory "wiped off the map" quote was first disseminated not by Iran's enemies, but by Iran itself. The Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran's official propaganda arm, used this phrasing in the English version of some of their news releases covering the World Without Zionism conference. International media including the BBC, Al Jazeera, Time magazine and countless others picked up the IRNA quote and made headlines out of it without verifying its accuracy, and rarely referring to the source. Iran's Foreign Minister soon attempted to clarify the statement, but the quote had a life of its own. Though the IRNA wording was inaccurate and misleading, the media assumed it was true, and besides, it made great copy.
Amid heated wrangling over Iran's nuclear program, and months of continuous, unfounded accusations against Iran in an attempt to rally support for preemptive strikes against the country, the imperialists had just been handed the perfect raison d'être to invade. To the war hawks, it was a gift from the skies.
It should be noted that in other references to the conference, the IRNA's translation changed. For instance, "map" was replaced with "earth". In some articles it was "The Qods occupier regime should be eliminated from the surface of earth", or the similar "The Qods occupying regime must be eliminated from the surface of earth". The inconsistency of the IRNA's translation should be evidence enough of the unreliability of the source, particularly when transcribing their news from Farsi into the English language.
The mistranslated "wiped off the map" quote attributed to Iran's President has been spread worldwide, repeated thousands of times in international media, and prompted the denouncements of numerous world leaders. Virtually every major and minor media outlet has published or broadcast this false statement to the masses. Big news agencies such as The Associated Press and Reuters refer to the misquote, literally, on an almost daily basis.
Following news of Iran's remark, condemnation was swift. British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed "revulsion" and implied that it might be necessary to attack Iran. U.N. chief Kofi Annan cancelled his scheduled trip to Iran due to the controversy. Ariel Sharon demanded that Iran be expelled from the United Nations for calling for Israel's destruction. Shimon Peres, more than once, threatened to wipe Iran off the map. More recently, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu, who has warned that Iran is "preparing another holocaust for the Jewish state" is calling for Ahmadinejad to be tried for war crimes for inciting genocide.
The artificial quote has also been subject to additional alterations. U.S. officials and media often take the liberty of dropping the "map" reference altogether, replacing it with the more acutely threatening phrase "wipe Israel off the face of the earth". Newspaper and magazine articles dutifully report Ahmadinejad has "called for the destruction of Israel", as do senior officials in the United States government.
President George W. Bush said the comments represented a "specific threat" to destroy Israel. In a March 2006 speech in Cleveland, Bush vowed he would resort to war to protect Israel from Iran, because, "..the threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel." Former Presidential advisor Richard Clarke told Australian TV that Iran "talks openly about destroying Israel", and insists, "The President of Iran has said repeatedly that he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth". In an October 2006 interview with Amy Goodman, former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter referred to Ahmadinejad as "the idiot that comes out and says really stupid, vile things, such as, 'It is the goal of Iran to wipe Israel off the face of the earth' ". The consensus is clear.
Confusing matters further, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pontificates rather than give a direct answer when questioned about the statement, such as in Lally Weymouth's Washington Post interview in September 2006:
Are you really serious when you say that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth?
We need to look at the scene in the Middle East — 60 years of war, 60 years of displacement, 60 years of conflict, not even a day of peace. Look at the war in Lebanon, the war in Gaza — what are the reasons for these conditions? We need to address and resolve the root problem.
Your suggestion is to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth?
Our suggestion is very clear:... Let the Palestinian people decide their fate in a free and fair referendum, and the result, whatever it is, should be accepted.... The people with no roots there are now ruling the land.
You've been quoted as saying that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth. Is that your belief?
What I have said has made my position clear. If we look at a map of the Middle East from 70 years ago...
So, the answer is yes, you do believe that it should be wiped off the face of the Earth?
Are you asking me yes or no? Is this a test? Do you respect the right to self-determination for the Palestinian nation? Yes or no? Is Palestine, as a nation, considered a nation with the right to live under humane conditions or not? Let's allow those rights to be enforced for these 5 million displaced people.
The exchange is typical of Ahmadinejad's interviews with the American media. Predictably, both Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes and CNN's Anderson Cooper asked if he wants to "wipe Israel off the map". As usual, the question is thrown back in the reporter's face with his standard "Don't the Palestinians have rights?, etc." retort (which is never directly answered either). Yet he never confirms the "map" comment to be true. This did not prevent Anderson Cooper from referring to earlier portions of his interview after a commercial break and lying, "as he said earlier, he wants Israel wiped off the map".
Even if every media outlet in the world were to retract the mistranslated quote tomorrow, the major damage has already been done, providing the groundwork for the next phase of disinformation: complete character demonization. Ahmadinejad, we are told, is the next Hitler, a grave threat to world peace who wants to bring about a new Holocaust. According to some detractors, he not only wants to destroy Israel, but after that, he will nuke America, and then Europe! An October 2006 memo titled Words of Hate: Iran's Escalating Threats released by the powerful Israeli lobby group AIPAC opens with the warning, "Ahmadinejad and other top Iranian leaders are issuing increasingly belligerent statements threatening to destroy the United States, Europe and Israel." These claims not only fabricate an unsubstantiated threat, but assume far more power than he actually possesses. Alarmists would be better off monitoring the statements of the ultra-conservative Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who holds the most power in Iran.
As Iran's U.N. Press Officer, M.A. Mohammadi, complained to The Washington Post in a June 2006 letter:
It is not amazing at all, the pick-and-choose approach of highlighting the misinterpreted remarks of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in October and ignoring this month's remarks by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that "We have no problem with the world. We are not a threat whatsoever to the world, and the world knows it. We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any state."
The Israeli government has milked every drop of the spurious quote to its supposed advantage. In her September 2006 address to the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni accused Iran of working to nuke Israel and bully the world. "They speak proudly and openly of their desire to 'wipe Israel off the map.' And now, by their actions, they pursue the weapons to achieve this objective to imperil the region and threaten the world." Addressing the threat in December, a fervent Prime Minister Ehud Olmert inadvertently disclosed that his country already possesses nuclear weapons: "We have never threatened any nation with annihilation. Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia?"
On December 13, 2006, more than a year after The World Without Zionism conference, two leading Israeli newspapers, The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, published reports of a renewed threat from Ahmadinejad. The Jerusalem Post's headline was Ahmadinejad: Israel will be 'wiped out', while Haaretz posted the title Ahmadinejad at Holocaust conference: Israel will 'soon be wiped out'.
Where did they get their information? It turns out that both papers, like most American and western media, rely heavily on write ups by news wire services such as the Associated Press and Reuters as a source for their articles. Sure enough, their sources are in fact December 12th articles by Reuter's Paul Hughes [Iran president says Israel's days are numbered], and the AP's Ali Akbar Dareini [Iran President: Israel Will be wiped out].
The first five paragraphs of the Haaretz article, credited to "Haaretz Service and Agencies", are plagiarized almost 100% from the first five paragraphs of the Reuters piece. The only difference is that Haaretz changed "the Jewish state" to "Israel" in the second paragraph, otherwise they are identical.
The Jerusalem Post article by Herb Keinon pilfers from both the Reuters and AP stories. Like Haaretz, it uses the following Ahmadinejad quote without attribution: ["Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out," he added]. Another passage apparently relies on an IRNA report:
"The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom," Ahmadinejad said at Tuesday's meeting with the conference participants in his offices, according to Iran's official news agency, IRNA.
He said elections should be held among "Jews, Christians and Muslims so the population of Palestine can select their government and destiny for themselves in a democratic manner."
Once again, the first sentence above was wholly plagiarized from the AP article. The second sentence was also the same, except "He called for elections" became "He said elections should be held..".
There you will discover the actual IRNA quote was:
"As the Soviet Union disappeared, the Zionist regime will also vanish and humanity will be liberated".
Compare this to the alleged IRNA quote reported by the Associated Press:
"The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom".
In the IRNA's actual report, the Zionist regime will vanish just as the Soviet Union disappeared. Vanish. Disappear. In the dishonest AP version, the Zionist regime will be "wiped out". And how will it be wiped out? "The same way the Soviet Union was". Rather than imply a military threat or escalation in rhetoric, this reference to Russia actually validates the intended meaning of Ahmadinejad's previous misinterpreted anti-Zionist statements.
What has just been demonstrated is irrefutable proof of media manipulation and propaganda in action. The AP deliberately alters an IRNA quote to sound more threatening. The Israeli media not only repeats the fake quote but also steals the original authors' words. The unsuspecting public reads this, forms an opinion and supports unnecessary wars of aggression, presented as self defense, based on the misinformation.
This scenario mirrors the kind of false claims that led to the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq, a war now widely viewed as a catastrophic mistake. And yet the Bush administration and the compliant corporate media continue to marinate in propaganda and speculation about attacking Iraq's much larger and more formidable neighbor, Iran. Most of this rests on the unproven assumption that Iran is building nuclear weapons, and the lie that Iran has vowed to physically destroy Israel. Given its scope and potentially disastrous outcome, all this amounts to what is arguably the rumor of the century.
Iran's President has written two rather philosophical letters to America. In his first letter, he pointed out that "History shows us that oppressive and cruel governments do not survive". With this statement, Ahmadinejad has also projected the outcome of his own backwards regime, which will likewise "vanish from the page of time".
Ahmednijad might be a holocaust denier, but after reading the above articles, can you state that he uttered those words in the speech? I just want to know if the facts stated in the article are "fact based" or Not.
Ahmednijad is a crackpot, fine, but did he say it in the Speech he delivered? Thats what I want to know. I want to know the claims of the Article not Interviews of his.
Like Singh, said, he attends to crowds yelling Death to Israel, he is no Saint, but then I want to know the truth behind the Speech he delivered. I want this article to be proven Bogus. I myself dont believe the article i posted 100%. I am sure someone can enligthen me on the article.
No religious discussion please or referring to religious topics in thread all members have been repeatedly told not to cite religious books or scriptes in the forum any further shift in the thread will result in closing down the thread