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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM


Iran lifts CNN ban; apology over mistranslation accepted

The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran lifted its ban on CNN on Tuesday, a day after the government barred the U.S. network from the country because of its mistranslation of nuclear comments by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, state television reported.

Ahmadinejad ordered the reversal "due to the expression of an apology" from CNN over the mistranslation, the state-run TV broadcast said.

Iran imposed the ban after CNN misquoted the president as speaking of developing "nuclear weapons" when he actually referred to "nuclear technology." CNN admitted the mistake and apologized.

Hard-liners called the mistranslation a deliberate act to misrepresent Iran's position at a crucial moment in international negotiations.

The Jomhuri-e-Eslami newspaper said Tuesday that CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour was a "CIA and Mossad agent with a bad record" who should be barred from Iran. Amanpour had been reporting from Iran.

In the Kayhan newspaper, hard-liner Hossein Shariatmadari wrote that the chances of the mistranslation having been an accident were "close to nil."

But Ahmadinejad emphasized CNN's apology in a letter to Culture Minister Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi: "... Although the open distortion of comments by this channel is against the mission of ... the media in protecting the right of nations to be informed of various opinions and events, given its [CNN's] apology, the channel should be authorized to resume its activities."

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