Middle East

Iranian interpreter defends Trump speech omissions

Donald Trump addresses the United Nations with outstretched arms in front of a podium emblazoned with the UN emblem Image copyright Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly for the first time.

He reaffirmed his pledge to put America first, said the US might "have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea" and roundly criticised Iran as a "rogue state".

But some viewers watching in Iran may not have felt the full force of President Trump's criticisms.

Iranian state broadcaster IRINN's interpreter omitted parts of the speech.

While the full speech was broadcast live and unedited on Iran's English-language Press TV, IRINN's broadcast included a simultaneous Persian translation with a softer interpretation of President Trump's comments.

The interpreter behind the omissions, Nima Chitsaz, has defended his actions following widespread criticism on social media.


What Trump said (and how it was translated)

President Trump included a number of marked criticisms of Iran in his speech, some of which are below. Mr Chitsaz's translations of the remarks are in italics.

"[The Islamic Republic of Iran] has turned a wealthy country, with a rich history and culture, into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos."

In our opinion, the life of Iranians could be better

"The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear most."

The US military is strong. The people of Iran are also strong.

"This is what causes the regime to restrict Internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protestors, and imprison political reformers."

There are so many things happening in Iran that we consider to be unacceptable.


Image copyright Twitter
Image caption A video of Nima Chitsaz explaining his actions has been widely shared

In a short video shared widely on social media, Mr Chitsaz explained why he neglected to translate parts of President Trump's speech.

"Trump made some remarks in his speech at the United Nations against Iran which I did not translate," he said.

"Why did I decide not to translate them?

"First, these remarks were untrue. Second, they were against my country and they were against Iran.

"I think if it was anybody else, they would have done the same."

Mr Chitsaz claimed that because President Trump could be heard in the background it would be "obvious" what he had really said.

"I do not think it would be good if I spoke against my own country on my own national broadcaster," he added.

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Media captionWhich 'rogue states' are in Trump's new axis of evil?

However, many Iranian social media users remained unconvinced by Mr Chitsaz's defence of his actions.

"You were not speaking against your country. You were only translating," one wrote. "At least find a better excuse," they added.

"Are you saying that listeners are not intelligent enough to understand what remarks are wrong and what remarks are right?" another commented.

Reformist MP Mahmoud Sadeqi, who has previously criticised the translation on Twitter, was among those to share the video.

"Explanation of the simultaneous interpreter of Trump's speech at the UN," he wrote.

"No comment".

By Chris Bell, UGC and Social News team. Additional reporting by BBC Monitoring

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