CNN, Amanpour Defend Network From Accusations They Mistranslated Iranian President

CNN got some flak this week after airing an interview between Christiane Amanpour and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, because of the the Iranian news agency Fars’ claim that CNN fabricated Rouhani’s statements and overstated what he actually said about the Holocaust.

The Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page joined Fars in raising skepticism about the veracity of the translation.

“Our independent translation of Mr. Rouhani’s comments confirms that Fars, not CNN, got the Farsi right,” writes the Journal, which went so far as to say, “points for honesty go to the journalists at Fars, who for reasons that probably range from solidarity to self-preservation aren’t disposed to whitewash their President’s ideological predilections.”

Amanpour, who herself speaks Farsi, fired off a few tweets firing back at the Journal.

Meanwhile, CNN told Business Insider that the translator they used was specifically provided by Iran, and they re-dubbed everything they said verbatim. But Fars is still not convinced, accusing Amanpour directly of approving the misleading translation since she understands Farsi.

On the other hand, POLITICO spoke to journalist Arash Karami, who speaks Farsi, and he said CNN’s translation was absolutely on point except for one small detail.

“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.”

The full, unedited interview, complete with transcript, is now available on

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac