The Iranian President’s official website has deleted his Columbia University comment about there being no homosexuals in his country.
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) says that it has discovered an odd discrepancy while monitoring the Iranian press reaction to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech and comments at the forum hosted by Columbia University on Monday.
The English version of the President’s official website provides a full and complete transcript of his speech and the Question & Answer segment. However, the Persian-language transcript has excised both the question about treatment of lesbians and gay men in Iran and Ahmadinejad’s now legendary response that there are no homosexuals in his country.
The President’s website purportedly provides the authoritative transcripts of his speeches and is relied upon by the news media in Iran. According to IGLHRC, not a single Persian-language media outlet in Iran – including Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, and the semi-independent news agencies, ISNA, Mehrrnews and Farsnews, and the Wednesday morning newspapers – has reported on the President’s comments.
In responds to a question on why Iran has executed citizens who are homosexuals President Ahmadinejad replied that, “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals, like in your country. We don’t have that in our country. In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don’t know who’s told you that we have it.”
“The first reaction of many of us was to join in the astonished response to President Ahmadinejad’s clearly outrageous view that no lesbian or gay people live in Iran,” said Paula Ettelbrick, Executive Director of IGLHRC. “But the whitewashing of his comments from the eyes and ears of most Iranian citizens speaks to something more troubling. His denial attempts to simply erase from public view the lives of men and women who face regular abuse in his country. Perhaps he knows he could not credibly get away with such a denial among his own people.”
IGLHRC says that it has documented widespread and systemic violations of the rights of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Iran.