This morning, the Iran based Mehr news published a story (right) in which they quoted Iran’s newly elected president in their headline as saying:
روحانی: اسرائیل زخمی است بر پیکر جهان اسلام که باید از بین برود
Israel is a wound on the body of the world of Islam that must be destroyed.
Since then a video has emerged in which it seems that Rouhani was misquoted by Mehr.
In the video, according to the indispensable Iran Pulse publication of Al Monitor , Rouhani actually says:
“Quds day, which is in memorial of Imam [Khomeini], is a day that people present the unity of Islam against any type of oppression or aggression. And in any case, in our region, it is an old wound that has been sitting on the body of the Islamic world, in the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the dear Quds. And this day, in fact, is a remembrance that Muslim people will not forget this historical right and will always stand against oppression and aggression.”
He does not say that this wound must be removed, as Mehr news originally reported. Nor does he actually mention Israel or the “Zionist regime” as Mehr and then ISNA quoted him as saying. Since then Mehr has corrected its story and used the actual quote instead. So has ISNA.
Its possible that Mehr and ISNA were sloppy in their reporting. Its also possible that some of the reporters wanted to embarrass Rouhani by misquoting him. No one knows. But he was misquoted .
To the Iranian regime, there is no difference between Israel’s legal post 1948 borders and land captured and occupied after 1967. To the Iranian government, all of Israel is occupied Palestinian land. Rouhani who is supposed to be a moderate has never made that distinction.
Therefore his latest statement is deeply offensive to many Israelis.
Nevertheless, he was misquoted and misrepresented. Also, he can not be compared to Ahmadinejad who was not only anti-Israeli, but also an anti-semite who denied the holocaust.