OK, in light of the earlier discussion on translation, let me pick a section of the Le Monde translation (I’d love a link to a Farsi original – if anyone has it (I looked on Iran News but couldn;t igure it out) to ask some questions about and let’s see if we can generate a consensus about what was said and what it means.
Here’s the official Iran News translation, with some comments of mine interspersed (note that this isn’t meant to be a Fisking):
We believe a return to the teachings of the divine prophets is the only road leading to salvation. I have been told that Your Excellency follows the teachings of Jesus (PBUH) and believes in the divine promise of the rule of the righteous on Earth.
OK, he’s asserting that they are both religious.
We also believe that Jesus Christ (PBUH) was one of the great prophets of the Almighty. He has been repeatedly praised in the Koran. Jesus (PBUH) has been quoted in Koran as well: [19.36] And surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord, therefore serve Him; this is the right path. Marium.
Here’s what reads to me a like a crux phrase: when he says “And surely Allah is my Lord and your Lord, therefore serve Him; this is the right path. Marium.” it seems clear that he’s calling on Bush to serve Allah – not to join in a mutual worship of their respective single Gods.
Service to and obedience of the Almighty is the credo of all divine messengers.
The God of all people in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, the Pacific and the rest of the world is one. He is the Almighty who wants to guide and give dignity to all His servants. He has given greatness to Humans.
He’s asserting that there is one God – now this can be taken in a Unitarian sense, or in the literal sense that there is only one diety.
We again read in the Holy Book: “The Almighty God sent His prophets with miracles and clear signs to guide the people and show them divine signs and purify them from sins and pollutions. And He sent the Book and the balance so that the people display justice and avoid the rebellious”.
I’m interpreting him to say ‘the Book’ to mean the Koran.
All of the above verses can be seen, one way or the other, in the Good Book as well.
Does the Good Book mean the Bible?
Divine prophets have promised: The day will come when all humans will congregate before the court of the Almighty, so that their deeds are examined. The good will be directed towards Haven and evildoers will meet divine retribution. I trust both of us believe in such a day, but it will not be easy to calculate the actions of rulers, because we must be answerable to our nations and all others whose lives have been directly or indirectly affected by our actions.
OK, this is pretty clear – we’re all accountable in Heaven, but rulers are answerable here on Earth.
All prophets, speak of peace and tranquility for man — based on monotheism, justice and respect for human dignity.
OK, seems clear.
Do you not think that if all of us come to believe in and abide by these principles, that is, monotheism, worship of God, justice, respect for the dignity of man, belief in the Last Day, we can overcome the present problems of the world — that are the result of disobedience to the Almighty and the teachings of prophets – and improve our performance?
Here again we have the question of the specific God or the general one? Is believing in God enough, or do we have to believe in the same one?
Do you not think that belief in these principles promotes and guarantees peace, friendship and justice?
There are two principles conflated here. One is that having principles in abstract – separate from the content of the principles – implies that principled people who may disagree can better come together in peace and understanding. It is in essence, pluralist. The other imples that when we all agree on principles, we will be able to do so.
Do you not think that the aforementioned written or unwritten principles are universally respected?
The answer depends on whether the princples are particular or abstract, no?
Will you not accept this invitation? That is, a genuine return to the teachings of prophets, to monotheism and justice, to preserve human dignity and obedience to the Almighty and His prophets?
Again, when he talks about the Almighty is he talking about Allah? Is it a fundamentalist Allah, or an Allah who would be comfortable taking worship in a Unitarian church?
Let’s discuss, because I think a lot depends on the answer.