Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi
received a warm welcome in Tehran
on Thursday but it would seem that his historic speech
at the Non-Aligned Movement summit may not have been the same speech heard by the Islamic Republic's citizens on national television and radio stations.
Iranian media claimed Thursday that official stations were deceiving home viewers by tampering with the translation of Morsi's speech into Persian.
According to the reports, the simultaneous interpreter adapted Morsi's speech to fit in with the Iranian regime's rhetoric – according to which Assad's
regime in Syria
should not be criticized.
Iran's official TV network was creative in their protest against Morsi's statements on the bloodshed
carried out by Assad's regime by simply refusing to translate his statements on the subject. Syria is Iran's ally.
One website specializing in coverage of Iran's conservative media wrote that "in an unprecedented action, the interpreter falsified part of Morsi's speech declining to translate Morsi's severe attack on the Syrian president's regime."
The Iranian interpreter translated Morsi's criticism of Assad's regime as statement's in support of Assad: "There is a crisis in Syria and we must support the ruling regime in Syria," he said, in complete contrast to Morsi's negative statements.
He then went on to add: "It would be appropriate if reforms in Syria were renewed and that there is no external interference that is our stance."
Some Iranian media published Morsi's distorted speech - namely Jahan News and Asriran sites which deliberately highlighted parts of the speech without referring to the most important statement concerning Morsi's stance on the situation in Syria.
When Morsi went on to discuss events in Arab states where the Arab Spring
played a part, the translator exchanged the word Syria with Bahrain.
In an interview with the Al Arabiya.net website Iranian media activist Ameed Maqdam Maqdam said he heard "Bahrain" mentioned three times in the Persian translation.
He added that the Persian interpreter "looked confused which means he was intent on inserting some expressions in Morsi's speech and deliberately used "Al Sahwa Al Islamiya" (Islamic Awakening) instead of Arab Spring.
"This would have never happened if he hadn't received orders from higher authorities to do so," he said. This is a blunt falsification of an official live speech delivered by a president to the world in Arabic.
Maqdam noted that this falsification doesn't reflect the Iranian leadership's interest in the real content of Morsi's speech. It was aimed more at the local consumption, to deceive the Iranian public opinion and making Iranians believe that Arab revolutions, particularly in Egypt,
are consistent with Iran's official discourse.
Iranian media also confirmed changes to speeches delivered by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN General Assembly President Nasser Abdul Aziz on the Syrian crisis.