Iran: Larijani says 'Persian empire' comments were poor translation

Iran: Larijani says 'Persian empire' comments were poor translation
Comments made by a senior Iranian official which spread quickly around the world have been dismissed by Iran's parliamentary chair as the product of a poor translation.
2 min read
12 March, 2015
The reported comments said Baghdad was the capital of a new Persian empire [Getty]
Iran's Parliamentary Chairman Ali Larijani has dismissed statements reportedly made by Ali Younesi, adviser to President Hassan Rouhani on ethnic and religious minorities.

Younesi was widely reported to have said that Iran had once again become an empire - and Baghdad was its capital.

"I don't think the translation of his statements was correct," Larijani said on Wednesday in a press conference in Doha. "The Islamic Republic of Iran respects and bases its policies on peaceful coexistence with all countries."

He argued that it had been 36 years since the revolution and Iran had not attacked another country in that time. "We were attacked by the last Iraqi regime, helped by some countries in the region."
     I think the reported statements were inaccurate.
- Ali Larijani, parliamentary chair


The parliamentary chairman called on people to pay greater attention to official statements made on behalf of the Islamic Republic than to comments by senior presidential advisers.

"I think the reported statements were inaccurate," he added.

Younesi's questionable statements were reported by the Iranian Students' News Agency [ISNA], which is part-funded by the Iranian government.

His reported remarks also referred to the pre-Islamic Persian Sasanian Empire that ruled over Iraq and much of the Middle East.

"Iran and Iraq's geography and culture are inseparable. Either we fight each other or we become one," he was reported as saying.

"My meaning is not that we should remove our borders, but that all the countries of the Iranian plateau should become close because our interests and safety are intertwined."

This article is an edited translation
from our Arabic edition.