A Fictional Story about a Hotline between the US and Iran
Trita had been anxious lately. He had been lobbying hard for a hotline between the Pentagon and Sepah for a while but he was not getting anywhere. NIAC Board and the members were all getting nervous about the possibility of an accidental confrontation between the US Navy and Sepah’s boats in the Persian Gulf. The news of a plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the US had made the matters worse. He had to do something quickly. Trita called the Pentagon again.
Dolores, the switchboard operator at the Pentagon answered the phone. By now she had got to know Trita well. “Good morning Trita, your lucky day, Admiral Mullen’s secretary called in sick today so I can put you through to him. Hopefully he is not in a meeting. You owe me a lunch!” Trita was delighted.
Admiral Mullen was sitting on his reclining chair throwing darts at the map of the world trying to decide which bases to close when the telephone rang. He had been extremely busy looking at the budget trying to figure out where to cut.
“Good morning Admiral. This is Trita. We really need to talk about that hotline to Sepah. Are you still interested?”
“Of course Trita. Actually, I was at the warehouse the other day trying to figure out what to auction to raise some money when I saw a Soviet-era red phone that would be ideal for the hotline to Rahbar or Sepah. The only problem is that because of the budget cuts, there is nobody here at the Pentagon after 6 pm. But we can put the red phone at the visitors’ lobby. There is a guard there all night that can answer the phone and then call me at home in case of an emergency.”
“That is great news Admiral. Let me talk to my contacts and get back to you.”
Trita was ecstatic. He had been lobbying Mohammad Khazaei, the Regime’s representative to the UN for months. Khazaei even brought the topic up with Ahmadi when he was in New York recently, but no decision was made. Now with the assassination plot all over the news, it was the perfect time to push the Regime to put the hotline in place. Trita quickly placed a call to Khazaei.
Khazaei seemed amicable. He had spoken earlier in the day with Mashaei and they had agreed to having the red phone placed at Mashaei’s house. There was only one problem though. Mashaei was not authorized to speak directly with the Americans so they didn’t know how to make the hotline work. Trita did some quick thinking and offered to put the red phone at his house.
“OK Mammad, here is the solution. We put the hotline between me and Mashaei. If something happens in the Persian Gulf, the night guard calls Mullen who calls me, and I use the red phone to call Mashaei, and he calls Ahmadi who tells Rahbar and Rahbar tells Sepah! I think it is going to work.”
In a matter of hours the phone line was established. Trita put the red phone in his bedroom to make sure that he won’t miss a call during the night. He even asked Dabashi to put a Farsi greeting with pro-Palestinian theme on the answering machine. Everything looked perfect. Trita then wrote a blog and posted it on the Huffington Post and Iranian.com. Everyone was delighted and the $100 donation checks started coming in.
Days went by and the red phone never rang. For the first few nights, Trita sat anxiously in bed and stared at the red phone hoping that it will ring, but it never did. All kinds of thoughts went through his mind as he was getting himself ready for the bad news. Then finally one cool autumn morning, as Trita was getting the paper from the front lawn of his Bethesda home, his wife screamed from the kitchen. “Hurry up Trita, the phone is ringing…the phone is ringing!”
Back in Tehran at Mashaei’s house, his 7-year old grandson Mahdi was running around the house trying to find something to play with. All of sudden, he saw a brand new red phone in his grandparents’ bedroom that he had not seen before. He picked up the phone and listened to it as it rang several times.
“Hello, this is Dr. Parsi, NIAC’s President.”
“Hello Amrika. Nice to see you…Nice to see you!”
“Who is this please? Is this Sepah? Do we have a problem in the Persian Gulf?” Trita asked anxiously.
Mahdi’s grandmother yelled at him from the kitchen. “Don’t play with your grandpa’s phone. He is going to get really upset at you.” But the little Mahdi was having the time of his life.
“Hello Amrika, I speak English. Tank you, tank you very much….Tuesday, Monday, Friday, Sunday, Saturday!”
“Please speak clearly. Are you from the Quds Force? I am Trita Parsi, the President of NIAC. Has anyone been killed? Should I call the Pentagon?”
“Goodbye Amrika. Nice to see you..Nice to see you!” The little Mahdi heard his grandma’s steps, put the red phone down and hid behind the big chair. Trita scratched his head and then wrote a memo to NIAC board and members and posted it on Iranian.com.