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Iran

Iranian President's Video Hits The Fan

Just what did Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad say about legislators back home?
Just what did Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad say about legislators back home?

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By Frud Bezhan
A video that appears to show Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad insulting the country's lawmakers has provoked a harsh response from Tehran and questions about the clip's authenticity.

The video in question shows a BBC Persian service reporter, Bahman Kalbasi, questioning Ahmadinejad about the size of the delegation he brought to this week's opening of the UN General Assembly.

"They are full of s**t," Ahmadinejad is seen saying when told that Iran's parliament was questioning the need to send 160 people to New York.

After the video went viral, the fecal matter really hit the fan.

In a statement published on September 25 by the semiofficial Fars news agency, the president's office "strongly" denied that Ahmadinejad had uttered the insult, and described the video as "ridiculous."

Almost on cue, the validity of the video came into question in the world of social media.

Many who viewed the video engaged in online debates about what Ahmadinejad actually said. Some argued it was too garbled to tell, while others offered other interpretations of the meaning of the Persian word "goh khordan." Others suggested it had been overdubbed.

Additional videos of the incident emerged on YouTube, showing Ahmadinejad mumbling a response that is impossible to decipher. Even the BBC reporter in the video, Kalbasi, has since come out saying the president did not utter the insult being attributed to him.

Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani, in comments made on September 26 warned that the whole story was rubbish. "I do not think that he has said this and we should not fall into such a trap," he was quoted as telling Iran's semiofficial ILNA news agency.

And the BBC itself came under criticism from the president's office for "the spreading lies and use of unprofessional and immoral methods" in an effort to smear the Iranian government and cause unrest in Iran.

WATCH: Protesters gathered near the United Nations in New York on September 26 to denounce the presence of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad at the world body. In his address to the UN General Assembly, Ahmadinejad said that Iran was threatened by "uncivilized Zionists," and called for a fact-finding mission to look into the truth behind the attacks of September 11, 2001:
Protests Outside UN As Ahmadinejad Addresses Assemblyi
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September 27, 2012
Protesters gathered near the United Nations in New York on September 26 to denounce the presence of Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad at the world body. In his address to the UN General Assembly, Ahmadinejad said that Iran was threatened by "uncivilized Zionists," and called for a fact-finding mission to look into the truth behind the attacks of September 11, 2001. (Reuters)


A S**tstorm In Iran

Questions over the authenticity of the video, the veracity of media reports on the incident, and the reasons behind any possible skewing of events did not prevent it from being a big topic of conversation on the web.

Some commenters ridiculed the president.

Payman Beigi, commenting on Facebook about Ahmadinejad's well-documented antics in New York, wrote that it was the Iranian president who was "eating s**t."

Shahrom Segarchi, in comments also posted on Facebook, said: "The president is full of s**t, not the parliamentarians."

Others were sympathetic.

Maryam Gudarzi, writing on Facebook, defended the president and questioned the BBC. "Do they believe they can lie to the faces of 70 million Iranians?" she wrote.

With most of Ahmadinejad’s delegation reportedly staying at the luxurious Warwick New York Hotel, the controversy is likely to continue.

As Iran struggles with economic hardship, in part because of crippling sanctions imposed by the West over Tehran's nuclear program, the idea of a huge presidential delegation living in luxury does not sit well with many.
Touka Neyestani's cartoonTouka Neyestani's cartoon
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Touka Neyestani's cartoon
Touka Neyestani's cartoon

One Iranian lawmaker, Mansour Haghighatpour, the deputy chairman of parliament's National Security Committee, was quoted as saying on September 25 that many in Ahmadinejad's entourage "have only travelled there for a picnic."

And meanwhile, Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric upon arriving in the Big Apple continued to attract attention.

Touka Neyestani, a well-known Iranian cartoonist, penned a cartoon (left) depicting Ahmadinejad in a T-shirt reading, "I Love NY." The cartoon, first published on the website of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on September 24, has been reposted across the Internet.

Frud Bezhan

Frud Bezhan covers Afghanistan and the broader South Asia and Middle East region. Send story tips to bezhanf@rferl.org. 

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ali from: Tehran
September 26, 2012 20:46
The reporter himself has denied that Ahmadinejad insulted the MPs. Why are you spreading lies? Don't you have a Farsi speaker who can listen to the video?!!!!

by: Anonymous
September 27, 2012 14:23
Nonsense.

by: Daruish from: London
September 27, 2012 16:17
You have descended into the gutter press. Superficial reporting and massaging reports have become the trade mark of Radio Free Europe which is at the bottom of the league. In case you have not noticed it ! Ask yourself why ?

by: Robin from: Canada
September 27, 2012 22:17
Badly written, and false

by: William from: Aragon
September 28, 2012 00:01
Surely there is something more report-worthy happening on planet earth today?

by: KK from: Tehran, Irn
September 28, 2012 12:39
Mr. Frud Bezhan, Balam jaan, reporter from BBC Persian Service who recorded the so called "insulting" video has denied that Ahmadinejad has said anything insulting. Misreporting like this lowers the credibility of RFE

by: Bloke from: Brazil
September 28, 2012 13:22
Your text quoting Ahmadinejad: "....and called for a fact-finding mission to look into the truth behind the attacks of September 11, 2001:"

He didn´t say that. He said that should HAVE BEEN placed an independent commission to fully investigate the 9/11 incidents. It´s in the past. The speech was pretty bland, and - as biased as RFERL is - seems you are trying to take milk of a stone and find "cool" headlines for your blog.

by: Muslim from: Earth
September 28, 2012 13:41
RFERL must be low on cash, to get funding from the CIA it will probably soon report that Iran signed an alliance with aliens to invade Mars.

I am so happy that you expose your pathetic biases, thank you for opening peoples eyes to your constant imperialist biases. Thank you. Please more reports like this. I want to see one tomorrow how Iranians are invading Moon and Jupiter.
In Response

by: Iranian from: Iran
September 29, 2012 05:04
Dont worry buddy Iranians will invade Moon and Jupiter pretty soon.

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