CNN banned from Iran after misquoting president

Monday, January 16, 2006

CNN headquarters in Atlanta Georgia

Iran has "barred" Time Warner Inc.'s, CNN, from working in the country "until further notice" due to mistranslating comments made by Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a press conference Saturday January 14, 2006.

In his speech Saturday, Ahmadinejad defended Iran's right to continue nuclear research.

Map highlighting Iran

State Media complained to CNN that they had used the translation "nuclear weapons" instead of "nuclear technology".

The ban by the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry was read in a statement on state-run television saying, "due to mistranslation of the words of Ahmadinejad during his press conference, activities of the American CNN in Tehran are banned until further notice," the statement said. "CNN quoted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying that Iran has the right to build nuclear weapons," the network said in its report of the ban. "In fact he said that Iran has the right to nuclear energy." He then adds, "a nation that has civilization does not need nuclear weapons, and our nation does not need them."

CNN has acknowledged that they had made the mistake.

The network then went on to say, "CNN apologized on all its platforms which included the translation error, including CNN International, CNNUSA and, and also expressed its regrets to the Iranian Government and the Iranian ambassador to the UN."

Mohammad Hossein Khoshvaght, director of foreign media at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, said on state television that he welcomed CNN's apology, but that "so far it's not clear whether it was something pre-planned or a mistake. Therefore, we will ban its activities (in Iran) for the time being. CNN's right to work in Iran would depend on an assessment of the broadcaster's future coverage of the Islamic state."

CNN has told its viewers that it has not yet been officially notified of the ban.