The controversy over whether Iranian President Hassan Rowhani actually acknowledged the Holocaust continued on Sunday, when the president’s top aide reiterated the Iranian stance that Rowhani never used the term.
"Mr. Rowhani did not at all used the word Holocaust even a single time all throughout his five day visit to New York that he was posed to the reporters questions and when they talked about the incidents in the World War II," Presidential Adviser Mohammad Reza Sadeq told Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency.
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"Mr. Rowhani never used the word Holocaust," Sadeq maintained.
Rowhani was quoted as using the term in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
"I have said before that I am not a historian personally and that when it comes to speaking of the dimensions of the Holocaust, it is the historians that should reflect on it," Rowhani was quoted on CNN as saying by a translator provided by the Iranian government.
Rowhani’s public denunciation and specific use of the word was hailed as a remarkable reversal from the previous Iranian president, who regularly denied the Holocaust.
However, CNN’s transcript was found to be inaccurate by both Iranians and also independent translators.
Transcripts of the interview, during which Rowhani spoke Farsi, show that he did not use the word "Holocaust."
Sadeq’s insistence that Rowhani never used the word further complicates CNN’s insistence that the interview was accurate, and calls into question the rush to judge the new president a "moderate."
Fars, which reviewed a transcript of the interview in Farsi, determined that it "was full of not just mistranslations, but fabrication and falsification of the president's remarks about the Holocaust."
CNN told the Free Beacon on Friday that it stands by the interview.
"CNN unequivocally stands by Christiane Amanpour’s interview with Iranian President Rowhani," a spokeswoman said.
"In the interview she asked him about the Holocaust and his answer—through his own translator—is clear. The fact that some respected news outlets are taking [Iran’s Fars News Agency’s] allegations seriously is not only ludicrous, but irresponsible," the spokeswoman said.
The CNN official would not comment on whether the translation was confirmed by a third party before being aired. She also would not comment on how the word Holocaust made its way into the translation when Rowhani is not heard saying it.
Amanpour also defended the translation and dismissed her critics as "extremists."
"Stunned by willingness of [Wall Street Journal editorial page] and others to jump into bed with Iranian extremist mouthpiece like Fars," she wrote on Twitter.
Fars has additionally asked CNN to correct the translation, "air it again, and extend an apology, but the American network has refused to do so."
Asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday about the regime's consistent Holocaust denial, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif claimed that it is just a translation issue.
"This is the problem when you translate something from Persian to English, you may lose some of the meaning," Zarif said. "This has unfortunately been the case several times over. The point is, we condemn the killing of innocent people whether it happens in Nazi Germany or whether it is happening in Palestine."
"The Holocaust is not a myth," he said.