Rouhani misquoted over remarks about ‘sore’ on body of Islamic world
Iran’s president-elect never mentioned the word Israel, nor that it should be “removed”
Iranians attend an annual pro-Palestinian rally marking Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Tehran, Iran, yesterday. Ahead of his inauguration, Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, was misquoted as saying that Israel is a wound that “should be removed”. Photograph: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP Photo
Iran’s president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a pro-Palestinian rally in Tehran earlier yestderday, was misquoted as saying that Israel is a wound that “should be removed”.
Iran’s semi-official Isna news agency misreported Mr Rouhani’s quotes, which were then widely disseminated by western news agencies and prompted Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to react to remarks that the Iranian president-elect never made.
Isna initially quoted Mr Rouhani as saying: “The Zionist regime has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world for years and the wound should be removed.”
In fact, he said: “In our region, a sore has been on the body of the Islamic world for many years in the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the dear Quds.”
He added: “This day is in fact a reminder that Muslim people will not forget their historic right and will continue to stand against aggression and tyranny.”
Mr Rouhani did not mention the word Israel, nor that it should be “removed”. The agency has now amended its article to reflect the true quotes but the falsified ones have already been doing the rounds.
Iran’s English-language state television, Press TV, also said Mr Rouhani’s quotes had been distorted.
“News agencies distort Iran pres-elect Rohani’s remarks on Quds Day,” said a breaking news caption on Press TV, according to Reuters.
Mr Rouhani was speaking at the al-Quds day, an annual event held on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan, aimed at showing solidarity with Palestinians. A video of Mr Rouhani showing him expressing those remarks is posted on Youtube.
Israel jumps the gun
According to the Associated Press, Mr Netanyahu reacted to Mr Rouhani’s falsified quotes by saying: “The real face of Rouhani has been exposed earlier than expected . . . This is what the man thinks and this is the Iranian regime’s operational plan . . .
“A country that threatens to destroy Israel must not be allowed weapons of mass destruction.” – (Guardian service)