First Published: 2017-09-20

Iran TV translator mocked for watering down Trump speech
Nima Chitsaz said he had decided in heat of the moment to spare Persian-speaking viewers from verbal attacks by US president Donald Trump.
Middle East Online

Trump's statements on Iran were undiplomatic even by his own standards.

TEHRAN - An Iranian television translator defended himself Wednesday after being widely criticised for soft-balling US President Donald Trump's attacks on Iran in his maiden speech to the UN General Assembly.

Nima Chitsaz, a translator for state broadcaster IRIB, said he had decided in the heat of the moment to spare his Persian-speaking viewers from the verbal attacks by the US president.

"I don't think it would be nice for me to speak on national TV against my own country," he later told IRINN television.

As a result, when Trump accused Iran of being a "depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos", Chitsaz's Persian translation was simply: "Iran speaks of destroying Israel."

Trump later told the UN assembly: "Other than the vast military power of the United States... Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most."

Which was translated for Iranian viewers as: "The US Army is a very strong army and the Iranian nation is a very strong nation."

"This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters, and imprison political reformers" was relayed as: "Many incidents happen in Iran which are unacceptable to us."

Chitsaz was slammed on social media, with one reformist politician accusing him of "censoring and distorting" the speech.

Even the semi-official ISNA news agency said it would further erode trust in the Iranian media, and push viewers to use exiled Persian channels instead.

"Are you paid to translate or to translate whenever you see fit?" wrote one of many mocking Twitter users.

"You should have translated Trump's nonsense so that people could better judge this stupid person," argued another.

Chitsaz responded by saying that the English had been left loud enough for people to translate for themselves.

"I think anybody else in my place would not have translated it," he said.

 

Iran airs "confessions" of researcher facing death for spying

Mayor of Libya's Misrata assassinated

Macron sees war on IS in Syria will be won in February

Assad blasts US-backed Kurdish fighters

Christmas in Jordan dimmed by Jerusalem crisis

Turkey prosecutor seeks release of German reporter

Kuwait likely to face political uncertainty

Lebanon arrests suspected killer of British embassy worker

Israel targets Hamas site in Gaza

Turkey slams Austria ‘discrimination’

Iran's schools suffocate in smog

Tunisia elections delayed

Istanbul summit strong on the rhetoric, weak on concrete steps

Israeli air traffic halted due to strikes

Two Danes stabbed by man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in Gabon

Morocco’s Islamists elect new leader, walking away from predecessor’s populism

UN considers rejecting Trump Jerusalem decision

Palestinians call for protests against Pence Jerusalem visit

Palestinian billionaire detained in Saudi Arabia

Egypt opens Rafah crossing for four days

Turkey court releases 7 suspects in New Year attack trial

Palestinian activist killed in Gaza protests

Foreign fighters a worry as IS struggles to survive

Over half Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in 'extreme poverty'

Palestinians killed in continuing protests over Jerusalem occupation

Bourita: Extraordinary meeting between ECOWAS, Morocco to be held beginning of 2018

Saudi-led air strikes, clashes as Yemen forces battle rebels

Sahel force funding shows terrorism fight is Saudi 'priority'

UN 'appalled' at mass execution of jihadists in Iraq

Iraq's Sistani says Hashed should be under government control

Middle-class Egypt adapts as costs soar

Somalia's budget meets IMF terms

Israel PM questioned in graft probe

US says Iran supplied ballistic missile to Yemen rebels

Lebanon approves bid for oil, gas exploration

US to present 'irrefutable evidence' of Iran violations

Istanbul 'to remove Gulen links' from street names

Iraq hangs 38 jihadists

Pence to visit Middle East despite controversy

Hamas chief calls for continued Jerusalem protests

EU to repatriate 15,000 migrants from Libya in two months

Syria Kurds fear US ally will desert them after IS defeat

Israeli drugmaker Teva to cut 14,000 jobs over two years

Turkey rescues 51 migrants stranded on rocks

Saudi, UAE hold talks with Yemen Islamists