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Senators Barbara Boxer (left) and Diane Feinstein

Iran is a great country
U.S. senators say they made secret visit to Iran

April 1, 1999
The Iranian

The following was an April Fools parody. To see past April Fools features, click here.


Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both Democrats from California) appeared on a local Iranian TV station in Los Angeles yesterday and spoke about their secret visit to Iran during Noruz. The following is a transcript of their TV interview:

Nazi Shooshtari (Iranian TV presenter): Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer welcome to the biggest Iranian TV station in history in Los Angeles ever.

Sen. Feinstein: Thank you. I want to wish you and all Iranians a very happy new year.

Sen. Boxer: Yes. Happy new year everyone (waves at camera). Thank you for inviting us Nazi. I love your hair by the way. Looks beautiful.

Shooshtari: Thank you Boxer. You have something to say to our people?

Sen. Boxer: Actually yes. Diane and I have just come back from a very exciting trip to your country.

Shooshtari: Yes. Where?

Sen. Boxer: Iran. We have just visited Iran. We were there for a week. Of course we were in disguise.

Shooshtari: Which guys?

Sen. Feinstein: No, no, no (laughs). We went in disguise. We could not go to Iran as American senators so we pretended that we were tourists. It was a fabulous trip. We learned a lot about your country. Of course we had to be very careful. We didn't even tell the State Department that we were going because we knew they wouldn't be happy about it. But it was important for us - Diane and I - to see Iran up close. To see the people. To walk the streets. To smell the camels.

Shooshtari: Camels?

Sen. Feinstein: Yes! What magnificent animals! But we will get to them a bit later. As Barbara just explained, we needed to visit Iran. And the reason was quite simple. We represent the State of California, where there are hundreds of thousands of Iranians. We have to understand their culture and their traditions in order to serve them well in the United States Senate. So the best way was to go to Iran itself.

Sen. Boxer: Senator Feinstein is absolutely right. We have made some foolish statements about Iran and Iranians, well at least I know I did, and I basically apologized for it. Barbara said something few months ago about reducing the number of visas issued to Iranian students because of the threat of terrorism. Given the circumstances, I think we did the right thing. But now that we have gone to Iran, we recognize that our impressions of your people and your country were wrong. We had the loveliest time in Iran. We could not believe our eyes. Was this the country we had been so worried about all these years? My God, the difference between our image of Iran in America and the real Iran is like night and day.

Shooshtari: Yes. Where did you go?

Sen. Feinstein: Well, our guides took us to several towns and cities.

Shooshtari: So you went out of Tehran.

Sen. Feinstein: Actually we were outside of Tehran all the time. Our guides thought it would be too dangerous to be in Tehran since Americans had been attacked there recently.

Shooshtari: So you went to Isfahan?

Sen. Feinstein: No. I don't recall that one. Barbara do you recognize that name?

Sen. Boxer: No. Doesn't ring a bell.

Shooshtari: Shiraz? Persepolis?

Sen. Feinstein: Hmmm... no. I don't recall those names either. But we might have. As you know we Americans aren't very good at remembering foreign names. But we remember the people and their faces. Wonderful people. And so many Jews.

Shooshtari: Jews? Yes we have many Jews. But more non-Jews.

Sen. Boxer: Yes. But every town we went to, our guides took us to the Jewish neighborhoods. I think they were trying to impress us. And we WERE impressed.

Shooshtari: ...?

Sen. Feinstein: Let's see. I think Barabara would agree that we had the best time on one of those coastal cities.

Shooshtari: Oh yes. In Shomal. Very beautiful. You went to Bandar Pahlavi or Chaloos or...? You see the jungle?

Sen. Feinstein: Hmmm... no. No jungle. Very mellow. It felt very Mediterranean.

Sen. Boxer: Yeah. like southern Spain almost. Beautiful...

Shooshtari: Oh maybe you went to Bandar Abbas. You know, in Persian Gulf.

Sen. Boxer: No Abbas. No I don't think we were there.

Shooshtari: So you are senators and you don't know anything. Anyway, did you talk to people?

Sen. Boxer: No unfortunately. Our guides told us not to speak to anyone. Because, you know. We are American and we didn't want to get into any trouble.

Shooshtari: Did you have Chelo Kabab?

Sen. Feinstein: What was that dear?

Shooshtari: Chelo Kabab. Iranian food.

Sen. Feinstein: Oh yes! Absolutely. Me and Barbara were munching on fallafels ALL THE TIME. We ate like pigs! (laughs)

Shooshtari: ...?

Sen. Boxer: Well, let me make another point here. I want to confirm that Iran has come a long way since the revolution. In fact there were some reports that the clerical regime is crumbling. Well, I can tell you that this has indeed happened. We did not see even one moolla on the streets or anywhere else for that matter. Not even on the state television. The Iranian clergy has simply vanished. And I think the Iranian people should be congratulated.

Sen. Feinstein: Yes. What Barbara said is true. And I should add that Iran has become a very modern and sophisticated state. A good example would be your media . Your newspapers and your TV stations do a great job of reporting the news. For instance, Israel's firm commitment to the peace process is always the first news item on TV.

Shooshtari: These are all lies from the Islamic Republic TV. They want destroy Israel. Do not believe these lies.

Sen. Feinstein: Well dear, I know you are skeptical. But we saw it with our own eyes. These are the wonderful realities of today's Iran. A land of peace. A land full of products that say "Made in USA". But there was one thing that did worry us a bit. It showed that there is still a small radical minority that is working against peace. Barbara and I and our guides were riding these charming camels and suddenly we saw a sign on the side of the road that said "Jerusalem 35 Kilometers". This is obviously intended to encourage the radicals and to give them the impression that the army of Allah or something is going to capture the Holy Land very soon.

Sen. Boxer: Yes, I remember seeing that. It was very disturbing. But this was only a small part of a very big, positive picture. There are lunatics in every society and Iran is no different. We know Iran has fundamentally changed and it is no longer a threat to our vital interests or those of our key allies in the region. Therefore Diane and I are jointly sponsoring a bill to lift all sanctions against Iran and to allow more young Iranians to come to the United States for college. We don't think they are a terrorist threat any longer.

Shooshtari: Whatever. Thank you. Gir-e cheh olaaghaaee oftaadeem...

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