The right way to talk to Iran
The Christian Science Monitor / Joshua Gross
08-Mar-2009 (4 comments)

However, now is not the time to engage Iran directly. The perception of American meddling during Iran's election season will only play into the hands of hard-liners. Enter California. The state is home to a large and influential Iranian diaspora. Although within this community a wide variety of political positions and sympathies are encountered, the Iranian diaspora could play a role in passing on an important message to their former countrymen.

News Goffer

to tehran via los angeles

by News Goffer on

Interesting suggestion!  What do you think?



Where's the beef?

by Examiner on

Joshua Gross writes, “Nowruz, the Persian New Year, will be celebrated later this month. Obama should take advantage of this unique moment to travel to California and hold a town-hall meeting with the Iranian diaspora.” He adds, “Obama's speech should dispel popular myths about Iran and focus on the beauty of Persian culture. Obama might acknowledge a personal fascination with Persian history and express adesire to learn more.”

Joshua Gross may not have read -or he assumes we have not -, the N.Y. Times’ best seller, The Audacity of Hope. In this book, then Senator Obama wrote, “Whenever I appear before immigrant audiences, I can count on some good-natured ribbing from my staff after my speech; according to them, my remarks always follow a three-part structure: “I am your friend,” “[Fill in the home country] has been a cradle of civilization,” and “You embody the American dream.”” (p. 309)


Iranians – within and without their homeland – were not born yesterday. It is highly unlikely that many of them will be fooled by this kind of gratuitous lip service. In fact, President Obama’s predecessors did try what you are recommending here, to no avail. Nor did their ‘carrot and stick’ diplomacy work. As Trita Parsi and Stanley Weiss have recently demanded (//, “The Obama administration must decide on its end game - its vision of Iran's role in the Middle East- and then, in a truly grand confidence-building measure, clearly communicate this end game to Tehran.”

If President Obama addresses Iranians diaspora, he should expect to be asked (politely) the same question then Vice President Walter Mondale posed to his rival, Senator Gary Hart during the 1984 presidential primary campaign, “Where’s the beef?”



The only thing I will tell my countrymen back home

by Toofantheoncesogreat (not verified) on

Is that the EU and the US wants to do you more than the IRI does.


My gut instincts want me to diagree...

by Ostaad on

but I'm open to changing my position if more compelling reasons come up later on. I don't think the President of the United State needs to play footsy with the Iraninans in LA, or anywhere else for that matter. He should solicit advice, input, feedback and so on to formulate his policies, but a townhall meeting with people who have left Iran will send the wrong message to the Iranians inside, because these people really don't represent the Iranians inside.

Obama KNOWS what he must do and spending time with the Tehrangelesians is just a waste of time. I am wondering what those people can tell him about fixing Iran-US relations that does not know already.