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CNN banned in Iran for translation gaffe

January 16, 2006

CNN banned in Iran for translation gaffe

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran on Monday banned CNN journalists from working there after the broadcaster misquoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying Iran wanted nuclear weapons, the ISNA students news agency said. 

CNN's simultaneous translation of Ahmadinejad's lengthy news conference on Saturday included the phrase "the use of nuclear weapons is Iran's right". 

In fact, what the Iranian president said was that "Iran has the right to nuclear energy," the official IRNA news agency reported. CNN later clarified in an apology on Sunday night. 

Iran on Monday banned CNN journalists from working there after the broadcaster misquoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying Iran wanted nuclear weapons, the ISNA students news agency said. Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks to parliamentarians after presenting his proposed budget in Tehran January 15, 2006. (REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)
Iran denies any intention of seeking nuclear weapons, saying it wants atomic technology merely for the generation of electricity. 

ISNA said Iran's Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry deemed the error a "violation of professional ethics" and suspended CNN journalists from working in Iran until further notice. 

CNN does not have a permanent bureau in Iran but a local journalist is a contributor to the network and visiting correspondents are occasionally given permission to enter the country on short assignments. 

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