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Iran Lifts Brief Ban on CNN in Translation Flap

President's remarks defending the country's nuclear research were reported as 'nuclear weapons.' Network apologized for the error.

January 17, 2006|From Associated Press

TEHRAN — Iran today lifted a ban it had imposed on CNN a day earlier for misquoting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ahmadinejad ordered the reversal "due to the expression of an apology" from CNN, state-run television reported.

Iran on Monday had banned CNN from working in the country "until further notice," after it mistranslated comments Ahmadinejad made in a recent news conference.

In remarks Saturday, Ahmadinejad had defended Iran's right to continue nuclear research.

State media had complained since the news conference that CNN translated his words as "nuclear weapons" instead of "nuclear technology" or "nuclear energy."

CNN acknowledged the mistake in a U.S. broadcast.

"CNN quoted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying that Iran has the right to build nuclear weapons," the network said in its report of the ban. "In fact, he said that Iran has the right to nuclear energy."

The network added that it had apologized. CNN told viewers it had not been officially notified about the ban.

Mohammed Hossein Khoshvaght, director-general of foreign press and media at the ministry, said in an interview that the ban followed a review of "past activities of CNN" not limited to Saturday's speech. He would not elaborate.

CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour has been reporting from Iran for the last week. Khoshvaght said she had been scheduled to leave Tuesday anyway.

The CNN ban marked the second time in a year that Iran had acted against an international broadcaster because of its coverage.

In April, Iran suspended the nationwide operations of Arab TV service Al Jazeera, accusing it of inflaming violent protests by the Arab minority in its southwest.

Al Jazeera has not been allowed to return to Iran.

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