‘We Are Not Partisan, Nor Are We the Iranian Version of Fox News’

By Chris Ariens 

A big week in U.S.-Iranian relations comes to an close with news that the presidents of both nations had their first direct contact in 34 years. Midway through his visit to New York for the U.N. General Assembly, the new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani also spent time meeting the American press. Then there was the dust-up about what he did — or didn’t — say to CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency disputed some of CNN’s translation.

CNN gave us their side yesterday. Today the New York Times’, Thomas Erdbrink got an explanation from the Fars point of view. He talked with Mostafa Afzalzadeh, who formerly worked with the agency.

Fars reporters said they were just trying to correct CNN’s mistranslation of the Iranian president during the interview. “Journalists are there to correct mistakes,” said Mostafa Afzalzadeh, who formerly worked for the agency. “If Mrs. Amanpour is ready to say that this was her translator’s fault and not hers, we will gladly publish that on Fars.”

Iran’s hard-liners have no patience with Ms. Amanpour, who is British-Iranian and, in their minds, deeply biased against the country. But Mr. Afzalzadeh denied those feelings had anything to do with the agency’s coverage.

“We are not partisan, nor are we the Iranian version of Fox News,” he said in an interview. “We are just doing our journalistic duty.”