Albright in Tehran
U.S. to reopen Tehran embassy in "early 2001"
April 1, 2000
This feature was posted in The Iranain for April Fools.
In another sign of improving relations between Tehran and Washington,
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright arrived in Tehran today for
talks with Iranian leaders. This is the first official visit by an American
official since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy. The following is
the text of Albright's interview with Iranian television.
Host: Welcome to Iran, Mrs. Albright.
Albright: Thank you very much. I'm very happy to be here.
Host: Why have you come to Iran?
Albright: Well, our two countries have been in conflict for many
many years. As you may know, President Khatami and President Clinton have
expressed a desire to improve relations. And it's been my pleasure to come
to Iran to personally extend a hand of friendship on behalf of the American
people to the good people of this ancient and important country.
Host: What have you done so far during your visit?
Albright: I've had very constructive meetings with President
Khatami and Foreign Minister Kharrazi. We discussed ways to move Iran-U.S.
relations forward. One of the things we agreed was to resume diplomatic
relations in early 2001.
Host: The United States will open an embassy in Tehran?
Host: At the same location?
Albright: Actually no. We thought it
would be better to have a fresh start. The new American embassy will be
located on the outskirts of Tehran in Ahmadabad. The family of the late
Prime Minister Mossadegh have kindly offered their estate and we think
it's a great location. As I mentioned in my speech in Washington, the United
States was wrong in helping to overthrow the Mossadegh government. And
to show our deep regrets for our inappropriate actions in 1953, we planted
a tree in memory of the popular prime minister.
Host: Zahmat kesheedeen...
Albright: Excuse me?
Host: What kind of tree?
Albright: It's a very nice, young pine tree.
Host: What else have you been doing during your stay here?
Albright: I also had a meeting with
some Iranian women
activists. As you know, women have been big supporters of President
Khatami's reforms and I was pleased to have the opportunity to chat with
a few of these courageous women who are risking their lives in the cause
of freedom and justice.
Host: Who did you meet?
Albright: One of them is the president of the Islamic Association
of Women Skiers and the other is the head of the Christiane Amanpour Freedom
Foundation of Iran.
Host: Have you also had talks with Ayatollah Khamenei?
Host: The leader of our country.
Albright: Oh him. No, unfortunately not. I did ask for a meeting.
His secretary left a message saying the Ayatollah will get back to me.
Host: In your speech in Washington you used Persian words to
wish Iranians a happy new year. How long did it take to learn them?
Albright: Actually I speak Persian quite well. My parents were
Host: I thought you had recently discovered that your parents
were Czech Jews persecuted by the Nazis.
Albright: Well, I made a mistake. I realized that when I arrived
here. I stepped out of the plane and suddenly my whole childhood flashed
in front of my eyes. I remembered growing up in Shiraz near Imam Reza's
shrine. Every weekend, usually on Saturdays, my parents would get up early
in the morning and go hiking in the Alborz mountains. But what I loved
about living in Shiraz was the beach. Our house was only a five minute
walk from the Caspian coast.
Host: Are you sure you're Iranian?
Albright: Absolutely. Beh ghiyaafam nemeeyaad?
Host: Cheraa, baa chaador kheyli meeyaad. Is the name in your
Iranian birth certificate Madeleine Albright?
Albright: Actually my real name is Maedeh Barati. But I had to
adjust it a bit when I went to America.
Host: Maedeh Barati?!
Albright: Yes... I love that name.
Host: There was a Maedeh Barati in my junior high school in Shiraz.
I used to have a huge crush on you!
Albright: Jafar? Jafar Karimi?! Is it really you?!! I cannot
believe this... I remember you! I thought you were the ugliest boy in school.
But you've turned out okay.
Host: Thanks. We have a lot to catch up with.
Albright: Yeah! What are you doing after the interview?
Host: Nothing. Would you like to go and have some tea or something?
Albright: Sure! It's a date!
Host: Excellent. Well, this has been a very interesting interview.
I want to thank you for being here and I hope our two countries will soon
be friends again.