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Correction: Iran story discredited

By Times editorial
Published May 23, 2006

A Saturday editorial condemning Iran was based on a report in a Canadian newspaper that has since been discredited. In a story written by Iranian-born analyst Amir Taheri, the National Post reported that the Iranian Parliament had given preliminary approval to a law to require Jews and other religious minorities to wear colored patches of cloth, evoking memories of the Holocaust. The National Post has since backed off its story, quoting a number of sources, including the lone Jewish member of the Iranian Parliament, as denying that such a measure was passed.

After the shocking story was published, a U.S. State Department spokesman said that such a law, if approved, would carry "clear echoes of Germany under Hitler.'' Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was quoted as saying that Iran was "very capable'' of passing such a law, although he could not confirm that it had. Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, told the National Post he had no independent confirmation that such a law was approved but believes it was considered by the Parliament.

A copy of the draft law obtained by the Associated Press did give preliminary approval to a law that would encourage Muslims to reject Western dress. The law would include economic incentives for local clothing manufacturers to offer Islamic-style attire and tariffs would be imposed on imports. But there was nothing in the draft of the law to require Jews and Christians to wear colored insignias.

For our part, we owe our readers an explanation - not excuses. In retrospect, we should have been more skeptical of the report and more diligent in our efforts to verify it.

[Last modified May 23, 2006, 05:06:58]

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