Bahrain has demanded an apology from Iran after an official interpreter reportedly replaced the word “Syria” with “Bahrain” in a speech by Egypt’s president at the opening of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran.
The foreign ministry in Manama on Saturday filed an “official protest memorandum” with Tehran’s charge d’affaires over the “misrepresentation made by Iranian State Television” during President Mohamed Morsi’s speech on Thursday.
Bahrain “requested the Iranian government apologise for this act, and take the necessary action to correct the breach and ensure that actions like this one don’t happen again,” the ministry’s demarche said, according to a statement.
Morsi, in the first visit to the Islamic republic by an Egyptian head of state since the 1979 Islamic revolution, in his speech criticised the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a key regional ally of Tehran.
“The revolution in Egypt is the cornerstone for the Arab Spring, which started days after Tunisia and then it was followed by Libya and Yemen and now the revolution in Syria against its oppressive regime,” Morsi told delegates at the summit, prompting a walk-out by the Syrian delegation.
Manama said that the interpreter on Iran’s state television replaced the word Syria with Bahrain several times, although Morsi, who spoke in Arabic, did not mention Bahrain at all.
The Bahraini statement did not name the television channel that it said changed the words, as several state channels transmitted Morsi’s speech live, including two in Farsi: IRINN and Channel One.
IRINN broadcast the speech using the official interpretation of the summit, which clearly mentioned Syria, as verified by AFP.
Channel One used its own interpreter who may have substituted the word “Syria” with “Bahrain” in its broadcast, according to a video posted online by the Doha-based Al-Jazeera satellite news channel.
However, AFP on Sunday was unable to verify the authenticity of the video with Iranian television officials.
Relations between Tehran and Manama have been rocky over Iran’s vocal criticism of Bahrain’s deadly crackdown on Shiite-led protests last year.