Ahmadinejad’s Official Website Deletes His Columbia University Commentary about Homosexuality

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Iranian President’s Official Website Deletes His Columbia University Commentary about Homosexuality

New York, Monday September 25, 2007
Upon monitoring the Iranian press reaction to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech and comments at the Monday forum hosted by Columbia University, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) discovered an odd disparity. The English version of the President’s official website (www.president.ir) provides a full and complete transcript of his speech and the Question & Answer segment where he claimed that homosexuality does not exist in Iran. However, the Persian-language transcript has excised both the question about treatment of lesbians and gay men in Iran and President Ahmadinejad’s soon to be legendary response.

The President’s website purportedly provides the authoritative transcripts of his speeches and is relied upon by the news media in Iran. To date, 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.

After President Ahmadinejad’s speech on Monday, the Professor John H. Coatsworth moderated a Question & Answer session. Among the questions was why Iran has executed citizens who are homosexuals, to which the President responded “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 has documented widespread and systemic violations of the rights of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Iran. For more information about IGLHRC’s work, visit: www.iglhrc.org. IGLHRC staff members available for interviews or background briefings on Iran include: Paula Ettelbrick or Hossein Alizadeh at: 212-430- 6016

See also : Ahmadinejad at Columbia University : “In Iran, We Don’t Have Homosexuals Like in Your Country”
Iran : Ahmadinejad, hué par les étudiants américains, Iran-Resist


  1. Sure, everyone can agree that freedom of speech is a good thing. It’s great! But when people think that they’re being forced to extend this right to dictators with well documented pasts of committing crimes against humanity, their feelings can quickly change.

    The college president, Lee Bollinger prefaced Ahmadinejad by saying, “It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas or our naiveté about the very real dangers inherent in such ideas. It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices.” He also cited the quotable expression about how free speech is “an experiment, as all life is an experiment.” and apologized in advance for any suffering that giving this speaker a public forum would cause.

    Before turning to Ahmadinejad he finished on the subject, “In the moment, the arguments for free speech will never seem to match the power of the arguments against, but what we must remember is that this is precisely because free speech asks us to exercise extraordinary self-restraint against the very natural but often counterproductive impulses that lead us to retreat from engagement with ideas we dislike and fear. In this lies the genius of the American idea of free speech.” Bollinger furthered the introduction by condemning the government of Iran for unjust imprisonment, public executions, and other violations of human rights.

    I think that the subject of free speech can transcend politics. I think that debate in all forms is usually a good thing and I really think that Columbia’s prez eloquently expressed this–His thoughts on freedom of speech were the best I’ve ever heard in my life.
    The Bliggity No Diggity Blog-a-Log

  2. Steve

    Columbia University claims they are America’s best and brightest?

    Did you see the way they applauded Ahmadenijad?

    They are just a bunch of filthy Little Eichmanns.

    Too bad that Cho Seung-hui didn’t go to Columbia University!




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