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Posts Tagged ‘President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’

War Propaganda; Iranian president calls for regime change not destruction of Israel PART I

In foreign policy, media, war and peace on November 15, 2009 at 2:02 am


If America goes to war with Iran, undoubtedly the phrase “wipe Israel off the map” will be used as a motivator. But did President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad actually utter these words?

In Oct 2006, the newly elected Ahmadinejad gave a speech at the conference “The World Without Zionism.” The topic of interest, as evident by the conference’s title, was Zionism, not the nation of Israel.

Before making the now infamous statement, Ahmadinejad prefaced it by speaking about the Zionist regime and compared it to the regimes of Saddaim Hussein, the Shah of Iran and the Soviet Union — all which have ceased to exist. He then proceeded to say:

“The Iman said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. This statement is very wise.”

The “Iman” that Ahmadinejad spoke of was the father of the 1979 Iranian Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini. It’s important to note that the words are actually Khomeini’s, not Ahmadinejad’s.

Here is the quote in Farsi, courtesy of Arash Norouzi, co-founder of Mossadegh Project:

“Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.”

And here is the word-for-word English 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).

The one word that is recognizable to westerners is the word “rezhim-e,” or regime. It is clear that Ahmadinejad was speaking of a regime, not of a nation. This distinction is a vital one.

However, where some translators differ is over the phrase “safheh-ye ruzgar.” As Jonathan Steele with The Guardian points out, this phrase has been translated by experts to mean both “the pages of history” and “the pages of time.”

Professor Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan, says Ahmadinejad was not making a threat but encouraging pro-Palestinian activists in Iran and suggesting that, just like former regimes, the Zionist one will come to an end.

“Whatever this quotation from a decades-old speech of Khomeini may have meant, Ahmadinejad did not say that ‘Israel must be wiped off the map’ with the implication that phrase has of Nazi-style extermination of a people,” Cole said. “He said that the occupation regime over Jerusalem must be erased from the page of time.”


War Propaganda; Iranian president calls for regime change not destruction of Israel PART II

In foreign policy, media, war and peace on November 15, 2009 at 1:54 am

So where did the phrase “wiped of the map” originate? According to Norouzi and others, the phrase actually originated from Iran’s own Islamic Republic News Agency. The agency sent out a press release and the story was picked up by international media such as The New York Times, Al-Jazeera and the BBC. In its article, IRNA used the word “map” as the English interpretation for “safheh-ye ruzgar.” Not only was the translation inaccurate, Norouzi says the IRNA was inconstant. It also translated the phrase as “earth” in other articles.

To make things even more complicated, Ahmadinejad actually misquoted Khomeini, according to a New York Times article. Khomeini’s original words were actually “sahneh roozgar” meaning “stage of time” not Ahmadinejad’s “safheh-ye ruzgar” meaning “page of time.” 

According to The Times:

“The phrase was widely interpreted as ‘map,’ and for years, no one objected. In October, when Mr. Ahmadinejad quoted Khomeini, he actually misquoted him, saying not ‘sahneh roozgar’ but ‘safheh roozgar,’ meaning pages of time or history. No one noticed the change, and news agencies used the word ‘map’ again.”

While there is debate on the most accurate English interpretation of Ahmadinejad’s phrase, “safheh roozgar,” it is clear Iran’s president was speaking of regime change, not annihilating a nation. Despite this fact, 411 members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of H. Con. Res. 21, a bill “Calling on the United Nations Security Council to charge Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and United Nations Charter because of his calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.”

Only two House member, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), voted against the legislation. Kucinich wanted alternative translations of Ahmadinejad’s  words included in the bill — translations describing a regime change, not “wiping Israel off the map.”

Paul believed the legislation to be a precursor to yet another war. In his speech before the U.S. House of Representatives, May 22, 2007, he said:

“Having already initiated a disastrous war against Iraq citing UN resolutions as justification, this resolution is like déjà vu. Have we forgotten 2003 already? Do we really want to go to war again for UN resolutions? That is where this resolution, and the many others we have passed over the last several years on Iran, is leading us. I hope my colleagues understand that a vote for this bill is a vote to move us closer to war with Iran.”

President Ahmadinejad has spoken much about the “regime” of Zionism. He has never spoken of “wiping Israel of the map,” “driving it into the sea,” “killing every Jewish person” or “destroying a nation.” Iran itself has denied such claims. Such phrases are merely war propaganda being spread by the mainstream media to prep Americans for yet another war.

Further reading:

‘Wiped off the Map’ — The Rumor of the Century by Arash Norouzi

‘We don’t Want Your Stinking War!’ by Professor Juan Cole