Despite probing questions from Christiane Amanpour, Ali Larijani, Iran's speaker of the Parliament, successfully evaded answering her queries about Iranian plans to attack Israel yesterday on CNN
"Well, can I just get this straight? Does Iran envision attacking Israel then?" Amanpour presses, after Larijani ducked her initial query: "Can you say anything that would reassure Israel that you are not committed to the destruction of that country?"
But Larijani prevaricates, transforming a 2014 call by Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei for the elimination of Israel into a "solution . . . totally compatible with democratic principles." Thus, he insists:
Several years ago, the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, came up with a solution for this problem, which I think is totally compatible with democratic principles.
He said that the solution actually lies in a referendum. There should be a referendum in occupied territories and people all people, Muslims, Jews and Christians should participate in that referendum. And they should choose their own destiny.
Whatever they decide should be implemented. And this solution is the one that Iran will adhere to. This is our in our vision. And I think this is something that is, as I said, compatible with democratic principles.
At this point, Amanpour does not question Larijani's account of Khamenei's referendum solution "compatible with democratic principles" and proceeds to move on to the next topic. But as CNN's own 2014 coverage of the Khamenei's referendum "solution" for Israel shows, the Supreme Leader's plan was for nothing less than the elimination of Israel.
The Iranian leader made his call for Israel to be "annihilated" on Twitter over the weekend. Mixed in with tweets insisting that Iran is committed to diplomacy on other issues, Khamenei posted a series of tweets slamming Israel. Among them was a document called "9 key questions about elimination of Israel."
While he and other Iranian leaders have spoken similarly of Israel in the past, the one-page document, packed with specific details, was new.
It says the "proper way of eliminating Israel" is for "all the original people of Palestine including Muslims, Christians and Jews wherever they are, whether inside Palestine, in refugee camps in other countries or just anywhere else, take part in a public and organized referendum." The "Jewish immigrants who have been persuaded into emigration to Palestine do not have the right to take part," he adds.
It's unclear who Khamenei thinks the "original people of Palestine" are, given that the region's history dates back thousands of years and includes countless waves of immigration and exile.
Coverage of Khamenei's tweets calling for Israel's annihilation. Amanpour doesn't challenge Larijani's recasting of Khamenei's referendum plan as "totally compatible with democratic principles"
Likewise, Lev's and Amanpour's colleagues reported Nov. 10, 2014 in "CNN Newsroom":
RANDI KAYE: A new controversy this morning involving Iran's Supreme Leader it's over a tweet sent from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's official account that lays out a plan for wiping Israel off the map and it comes days after it was revealed President Obama reached out to him in an effort to take down ISIS.
CNNchief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto live in Washington following this. Jim good morning to you, tell me more about this tweet.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it fits with the Supreme Leader's general combativeness towards the West with particular towards Israel. It's not the first time we heard this. You remember the previous president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who in fiery public speeches would often make this call to wipe Israel off the map.
Now the Supreme Leader in this series of tweets you see his picture up there now he had a ten-point plan that he tweeted out. This is the world we live in, right? The Supreme Leader of Iran is tweeting out a ten-point plan on this.
He takes a different tack here. Rather than saying this should be done with force or military action but it should be done with a referendum where the people in Palestine and Israel, what Iran calls the whole area, Palestine, that they would vote to see what to do with the Jewish Israelis. And, of course, his assumption being that they would vote that they get pushed out.
Listen, it's another tack trying to cloak this very combative tone towards Israel in a legal structure but it comes from the same place. And it really shows you that in Iran you have this division, right, because from the current president Hassan Rouhani, the current foreign minister Javad Zarif is currently negotiating with the U.S. over its nuclear program, you will have friendly words coming out in public. But from the Supreme Leader who truly holds the power in Iran you have a very different tack.
KAYE: And it's so interesting because on one hand he's saying he wants to arm the West Bank, places like Gaza. And then on the flip side of that he said we're not talking about massacring the Jewish people. So it's very interesting sort of what he does have to say there.
Khamennei's Nov. 9 tweets included the following chart about "the elimination of Israel":