After Iranian President Hasan Rouhani gave an interview acknowledging that the Holocaust did truly occur, Iranian media claimed CNN faked the video.
Rouhani’s acknowledgment that systematic extermination of Jews during WWII occurred stands in stark comparison to his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who gave an interview in 2012 denying the events.
Tuesday, Rouhani told CNN that the Holocause was a “crime that the Nazis committed towards the Jews” and called it “reprehensible and condemnable.”
A semiofficial Iranian news agency told the New York Times that the CNN interview is a fabrication, claiming Rouhani never used the word Holocaust or called Nazi genocide as “reprehensible.”
CNN defended the interview citing that the network used a interpreter provided by the Iranian government during Rouhani’s interview with Christine Amanpour, in which he responded to her questions in Persian.
The U.S. and Iran are on speaking terms, or at least letter terms, for the first time since American hostages were taken at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979.
The Iranian media backlash comes just after Rouhani skipped a “historical” handshake with President Obama are the United National General Assembly this week.
“Shaking hands with Obama,” explained Karim Sadjadpour, an expert on Iran at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “would have won Rouhani huge points with the Iranian public, but it would have caused Iran’s hard-liners a conniption.”