Commentary: Ahmadinejad can't deny his own words on Israel

The Miami HeraldSeptember 29, 2012 


Andres Oppenheimer is a columnist for The Miami Herald.

AL DIAZ — MCT/Miami Herald

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad downplayed his previous statements that Israel should be “wiped off” the map during his visit to New York this week, but a quick look at Iran’s government media — including the Hispantv network geared to Latin American audiences — leaves little doubt about the true nature of the Iranian regime.

Ahmadinejad told Piers Morgan of CNN on Monday that the term “to be wiped’’ meant for “occupation to be wiped off from this world, for war-seeking to be wiped off and eradicated, the killing of women and children to be eradicated.’’ He suggested that his previous statements calling for the destruction of Israel had been metaphors for the end of the Israeli presence in disputed territories.

It was part of the Iranian regime’s familiar game of making incendiary statements at home — calling for the destruction of Israel, denying the Jewish Holocaust in World War II, and justifying the punishment of homosexuals, among others — while telling U.S. and European audiences later that such remarks were taken out of context.

Iran’s fundamentalist regime plays this game as if — in the age of Google — there were no way to find out what they are telling their own audiences.

On my own CNN en Español show that aired Sunday, I got a similar response from the U.S. correspondent of Iran’s Hispantv when I asked him about previous statements by Ahmadinejad and other Iranian leaders calling for the annihilation of Israel.

Marcelo Sánchez dismissed such statements as “fabricated perceptions” by the “international capitalist media” designed to cast the Iranian government in a negative light.

But a quick search of Hispantv’s own website and other Iranian government-controlled media, as well as mainstream newspapers from across the world, show that Iran’s theocratic regime is spilling anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-Western venom on a daily basis.

In a typical news story titled “Ahmadinejad underscores the nefarious role of Zionism in the world” dated August 1, Hispantv’s website quotes Ahmadinejad as saying at a meeting with Islamic ambassadors in Tehran that for the past 400 years a “horrendous Zionist current” is dominating the world. (If that sounds similar to what Adolph Hitler said in his day, it’s because it is.)

In the same speech, Ahmadinejad said that “whoever is pro-freedom, pro-justice, in order to establish them, must do something so that the [Israeli] Zionist regime ceases to exist.”

In another article on Hispantv’s website, dated Sept. 24, columnist Mahdi Arismendi writes that the California-made anti-Muslim video Innocence of Muslims has “all the signs of an Israeli Zionist making.”

Arismendi wrote that the video’s apparent producer, Sam Bacile, is of “U.S.-Israeli nationality” and that the movie was financed by “Jewish circles,” despite the fact that it had been widely reported more than a week earlier that Sam Bacile was an alias for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian-born U.S. resident who is a Coptic Christian.

Christians are not spared from derogatory statements by the Iranian leadership. Hasan Rahimpur Azghadi, of the Iranian Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution, said in a speech broadcast by Iran’s Channel 1 that Christianity is “a reeking corpse.” You can watch his rant on

My opinion: Ahmadinejad has the right to criticize Israel for what he describes as illegal occupation of territories that are disputed between Israel and the Palestinians. Problem is, he is not talking about the territories that Israel took — or regained, depending on where you stand — but of Israel’s entire territory.

If Iran claims that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes — and if it objects to President Barack Obama’s statement at the U.N. on Tuesday that a nuclear-armed Iran “would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy” —– it should allow U.N. inspectors to visit its nuclear facilities, as the U.N. Security Council has repeatedly requested.

And if Iranian leaders want us to seriously believe that they are being misquoted about wanting to wipe Israel from the map, they should stop saying that around the clock. In the process, they should put an end to the hypocrisy of lashing out against the West for anti-Muslim videos or cartoons made by irresponsible individuals while Iran’s top leadership makes anti-Semitic and anti-Christian statements that are constantly aired by Iranian government media.

The true nature of Iran’s Islamic fundamentalist regime can be found in its own official press.

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