Iranian President-elect Hassan Rohani’s comments on Israel were “distorted” by segments of Iran’s own media, state run Press TV said, highlighting tensions within the Islamic Republic.
“In our region, there’s been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved al-Quds,” Rohani said in a video aired by Press TV of his appearance at the annual pro-Palestinian holiday in Iran, known as Quds Day.
Earlier, the ISNA news agency, which is affiliated with outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, quoted Rohani as saying instead, “The Islamic world must show unity against the Zionist regime, since this regime is an old wound that has lain for years in its body and must be removed.”
Later ISNA corrected its translation. It came too late, as Israeli prime minster Benjamin Netanyahu denounced Rohani.
“Rohani’s true face has been revealed earlier than expected,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “Even if they will now rush to deny his remarks, this is what the man thinks and this is the plan of the Iranian regime.”
Rohani who will be inaugurated this weekend, was elected in June by promising to reduce tensions with the West and curbing state intrusion into private lives of citizens.
Iran severed relations with Israel in 1979 after the Islamic Revolution. The departing Ahmadinejad repeatedly called for Israel to be eliminated during his 8-year term.