Global Research Editor’s Note
The following text by Arash Norouzi first published by the Mossadegh Project and Global Research in January 2007 confirms that the alleged “Wiped Off the Map” statement by Iran’s president was never made.
The rumor was fabricated by the American media with a view to discrediting Iran’s head of state and providing a justification for waging an all out war on Iran. The article provides [evidence] of media manipulation and “propaganda in action”.
Iran is blamed for refusing to abide by the “reasonable demands” of “the international community”.
Realities are twisted and turned upside down. Iran is being accused of wanting to start a war. Inherent in US military doctrine, the victims of war are heralded as the aggressor.
The threat to global security comes from the US-NATO-Israel military alliance, which is now threatening Iran with a pre-emptive attack with nuclear warheads.
If Iran is attacked, we are potentially in a World War III scenario.
It is essential to dispel the fabrications of the Western media.
Iran does not constitute a threat to to Global Security.
Iran does not possess a nuclear weapons program. Iran does not constitute a threat to Israel.
Michel Chossudovsky, 25 September 2010
Wiped off The Map: The Rumor of the Century
by Arash Norouzi
|Global Research, January 20, 2007
|The Mossadegh Project
Across the world, a dangerous rumor has spread that could have catastrophic implications. According to legend, Iran’s President has threatened to destroy Israel, or, to quote the misquote, “Israel must be wiped off the map”. Contrary to popular belief, this statement was never made, as the following article will prove.
On Tuesday, October 25th, 2005 at the Ministry of Interior conference hall in Tehran, newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a speech at a program, reportedly attended by thousands, titled “The World Without Zionism”. Large posters surrounding him displayed this title prominently in English, obviously for the benefit of the international press. Below the poster’s title was a slick graphic depicting an hour glass containing planet Earth at its top. Two small round orbs representing the United States and Israel are shown falling through the hour glass’ narrow neck and crashing to the bottom.
Before we get to the infamous remark, it’s important to note that the “quote” in question was itself a quote— they are the words of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution. Although he quoted Khomeini to affirm his own position on Zionism, the actual words belong to Khomeini and not Ahmadinejad. Thus, Ahmadinejad has essentially been credited (or blamed) for a quote that is not only unoriginal, but represents a viewpoint already in place well before he ever took office. [Emphasis mine – Zuo Shou / 左手]
THE ACTUAL QUOTE:
So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in farsi:
“Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.”
That passage will mean nothing to most people, but one word might ring a bell: rezhim-e. It is the word “Regime“, pronounced just like the English word with an extra “eh” sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. [Regimes aren’t indicated on maps… – ZS] Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase “rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods” (regime occupying Jerusalem).
So this raises the question.. what exactly did he want “wiped from the map”? The answer is: nothing. That’s because the word “map” was never used. The Persian word for map, “nagsheh“, is not contained anywhere in his original farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. Nor was the western phrase “wipe out” ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran’s President threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”, despite never having uttered the words “map”, “wipe out” or even “Israel”.
The full quote translated directly to English:
“The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”.
Word by word 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).
Here is the full transcript of the speech in farsi, archived on Ahmadinejad’s web site
THE SPEECH AND CONTEXT:
While the false “wiped off the map” extract has been repeated infinitely without verification, Ahmadinejad’s actual speech itself has been almost entirely ignored. Given the importance placed on the “map” comment, it would be sensible to present his words in their full context to get a fuller understanding of his position. In fact, by looking at the entire speech, there is a clear, logical trajectory leading up to his call for a “world without Zionism”. One may disagree with his reasoning, but critical appraisals are infeasible without first knowing what that reasoning is.
In his speech, Ahmadinejad declares that Zionism is the West’s apparatus of political oppression against Muslims. He says the “Zionist regime” was imposed on the Islamic world as a strategic bridgehead to ensure domination of the region and its assets. Palestine, he insists, is the frontline of the Islamic world’s struggle with American hegemony, and its fate will have repercussions for the entire Middle East.
Ahmadinejad acknowledges that the removal of America’s powerful grip on the region via the Zionists may seem unimaginable to some, but reminds the audience that, as Khomeini predicted, other seemingly invincible empires have disappeared and now only exist in history books. He then proceeds to list three such regimes that have collapsed, crumbled or vanished, all within the last 30 years:
(1) The Shah of Iran- the U.S. installed monarch
(2) The Soviet Union
(3) Iran’s former arch-enemy, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein
In the first and third examples, Ahmadinejad prefaces their mention with Khomeini’s own words foretelling that individual regime’s demise. He concludes by referring to Khomeini’s unfulfilled wish: “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. This statement is very wise”. This is the passage that has been isolated, twisted and distorted so famously. By measure of comparison, Ahmadinejad would seem to be calling for regime change, not war.
One may wonder: where did this false interpretation originate? Who is responsible for the translation that has sparked such worldwide controversy? The answer is surprising.
The inflammatory “wiped off the map” quote was first disseminated not by Iran’s enemies, but by Iran itself. The Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran’s official propaganda arm, used this phrasing in the English version of some of their news releases covering the World Without Zionism conference. International media including the BBC, Al Jazeera, Time magazine and countless others picked up the IRNA quote and made headlines out of it without verifying its accuracy, and rarely referring to the source. Iran’s Foreign Minister soon attempted to clarify the statement, but the quote had a life of its own. Though the IRNA wording was inaccurate and misleading, the media assumed it was true, and besides, it made great copy.
Amid heated wrangling over Iran’s nuclear program, and months of continuous, unfounded accusations against Iran in an attempt to rally support for preemptive strikes against the country, the imperialists had just been handed the perfect raison d’être to invade. To the war hawks, it was a gift from the skies.
It should be noted that in other references to the conference, the IRNA’s translation changed. For instance, “map” was replaced with “earth”. In some articles it was “The Qods occupier regime should be eliminated from the surface of earth”, or the similar “The Qods occupying regime must be eliminated from the surface of earth”. The inconsistency of the IRNA’s translation should be evidence enough of the unreliability of the source, particularly when transcribing their news from Farsi into the English language.
The mistranslated “wiped off the map” quote attributed to Iran’s President has been spread worldwide, repeated thousands of times in international media, and prompted the denouncements of numerous world leaders. Virtually every major and minor media outlet has published or broadcast this false statement to the masses. Big news agencies such as The Associated Press and Reuters refer to the misquote, literally, on an almost daily basis.
Following news of Iran’s remark, condemnation was swift. British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed “revulsion” and implied that it might be necessary to attack Iran. U.N. chief Kofi Annan cancelled his scheduled trip to Iran due to the controversy. Ariel Sharon demanded that Iran be expelled from the United Nations for calling for Israel’s destruction. Shimon Peres, more than once, threatened to wipe Iran off the map. More recently, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who has warned that Iran is “preparing another holocaust for the Jewish state” is calling for Ahmadinejad to be tried for war crimes for inciting genocide.
The artificial quote has also been subject to additional alterations. U.S. officials and media often take the liberty of dropping the “map” reference altogether, replacing it with the more acutely threatening phrase “wipe Israel off the face of the earth”. Newspaper and magazine articles dutifully report Ahmadinejad has “called for the destruction of Israel”, as do senior officials in the United States government.
President George W. Bush said the comments represented a “specific threat” to destroy Israel. In a March 2006 speech in Cleveland, Bush vowed he would resort to war to protect Israel from Iran, because, “..the threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel.” Former Presidential advisor Richard Clarke told Australian TV that Iran “talks openly about destroying Israel”, and insists, “The President of Iran has said repeatedly that he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth”.