Erika first alerted us to this story yesterday, where the new leader of Iran was supposed to have called Israel a wound inflicted on the Muslim world that must be cleansed. But that can’t be right, can it? I mean, we were widely promised that Hassan Rouhani (who at least had the good taste to have a name which was slightly more pronounceable than his predecessor) was the “moderate” guy, signaling a new era of lowered tensions with the west.
Well everyone can calm down now. He wants the world to know that he was actually misquoted on that one. (This is where we spin up the Onion Headline Generator and wait for, “what I meant to say was ‘universe,’ not “Muslim world.” Thank you very much. Omar! Where’s my half caf latte? Rouhani Out!)
But seriously, the Gray Lady is rushing to press to make sure we all know that he said no such thing.
As my colleague Thomas Erdbrink reports from Tehran, Iran’s state media scrambled on Friday to correct comments wrongly attributed to the country’s president-elect, Hassan Rouhani, after he was incorrectly quoted calling Israel “a sore which must be removed.”
Press TV, the English-language arm of Iran’s state broadcaster, subtitled Mr. Rouhani’s actual remarks, made to a reporter during the Islamic republic’s annual march for Quds, the Arabic name for Jerusalem.
Whew! That’s a relief. We were starting to think you were some kind of a nutjob there for a minute. So what did you really say?
The video shows that the cleric did not mention Israel by name or call for its elimination, but did compare “the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the dear Quds,” to a “wound” or “sore” that “has been sitting on the body of the Islamic world for many years.”
Ummm… I’m not looking for a job as your PR guy here, (you’re not hiring at the moment, are you?) but that really doesn’t sound that much better. Are you sure you needed to issue a correction? Or are you implying that you meant to say that they’re a sore on the body of the Islamic world, but you’re really into having trendy sores all over you, so you welcome them and want to keep them?
Also, the background context tends to leave us a bit befuddled as to your retraction.
A longer clip of the state television broadcast showed Mr. Rouhani smiling and waving in the parade as chants of “Death to Israel” echoed in the background.
Man… your translator managed to really confuse the entire crowd too, huh? Well, what can we say? Mistakes happen. Welcome to the party, pal.
UPDATE: (Jazz) Corrected the spelling of Israel in the title, which my fingers have tried to type with the a and e reversed for my entire life for some reason.