It's that time of the year, folks, that time when President Barack Obama gets to send out a campy message to Iranians about how awesome the US is and, with the right teleprompter, demonstrate how the American Commander-in-Chief can speak Farsi --- a little. It is the Nowruz message, affectionately known among select Iranian diplomacy wonks as "Four Minutes of 'Lets-Not-Talk-About-How-We-Want-to-Bomb-You'".
For the sake of levity, I'm responding to the message, paragraph by paragraph. After a solid plate of samanak, I think I'm ready to take on the most powerful man in the world and come out on the other end slightly amused!
Today, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those who are celebrating Nowruz around the world. In communities and homes from America to southwest Asia, families and friends are coming together to celebrate the hope that comes with renewal.
Thank you for taking the time. I understand it's hard to kill US citizens in Yemen Call of Duty-style and govern a nation at the same time. Brownie points for acknowleding that Nowruz isn't just celebrated by citizens of Iran, but millions of others as well. Pat your speech writers on the back.
To the people of Iran, this holiday comes at a time of continued tension between our two countries. But as people gather with their families, do good deeds, and welcome a new season, we are also reminded of the common humanity that we share.
More like "at a time when we've indicated that we're pretty OK if you're country becomes the central battleground of World War III". Inserting the word "humanity" in a paragraph doesn't make the message or your intentions humane, Mr. President. Maybe you could get some Humanity lessons from Iranians and Israelis who are actively trying to avert war between their nations by taking to the Internet to spread peace and love.
There is no reason for the United States and Iran to be divided from one another. Here in the United States, Iranian-Americans prosper and contribute greatly to our culture. This year, an Iranian production --- "A Separation" --- won America's highest honor for a foreign film. Our navies have confronted the danger of piracy, with U.S. sailors even rescuing Iranian citizens who had been taken hostage.
Acknowledged and quite appreciated not just by Iranians in the United States, but also Iranians inside Iran. Now get to business, man!
And from Facebook to Twitter --- from cell phones to the Internet -- our people use the same tools to talk to one another, and to enrich our lives.
Tough call. Very few Iranians inside Iran are able to reach the outside world these days. Those who manage to get their voices out see them drowned out by the loud noise of war drums that your cronies are beating. Simply admitting that those voices are trying to communicate does little when you don't acknowledge what those messages are saying to you and your people: stop crippling us with sanctions, and talk Israel out of bombing our nuclear installations and starting a larger conflict.
Yet increasingly, the Iranian people are denied the basic freedom to access the information that they want. Instead, the Iranian government jams satellite signals to shut down television and radio broadcasts. It censors the Internet to control what the Iranian people can see and say. The regime monitors computers and cell phones for the sole purpose of protecting its own power. And in recent weeks, Internet restrictions have become so severe that Iranians cannot communicate freely with their loved ones within Iran, or beyond its borders. Technologies that should empower citizens are being used to repress them.
That's nothing new, Mr. President. It's been going on for years, but again, brownie points for acknowledging it. Now are you gonna say the W-word?
Because of the actions of the Iranian regime, an electronic curtain has fallen around Iran -- a barrier that stops the free flow of information and ideas into the country, and denies the rest of the world the benefit of interacting with the Iranian people, who have so much to offer.
If you and your friends have your way, they likely will be offering images and videos of injured, dying and dead pretty soon. Oh, wait, they are cut-off from the internet, my bad. Maybe that's why you want to connect them to the internet so they could do that? Sorry, that samanak made me slow.
I want the Iranian people to know that America seeks a dialogue to hear your views and understand your aspirations. That's why we set up a Virtual Embassy, so you can see for yourselves what the United States is saying and doing. We're using Farsi on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.
...but you just said they can't connect to the internet! What good was setting up the Virtual Embassy months ago when you knew it was going to get banned in Iran anyway? Or did you think the Supreme Leader would check it out and proclaim a new era of understanding as well as give a Friday Prayer sermon praising the design of the website?
And even as we've imposed sanctions on the Iranian government, today, my Administration is issuing new guidelines to make it easier for American businesses to provide software and services into Iran that will make it easier for the Iranian people to use the Internet.
Ooo, so you set up the virtual embassy months ago and NOW you learn that it was banned so you're gonna.... Okay, my bad again. Let's hope the new guidelines you are issuing aren't the same ones that have been in the '"promise" stage for the past 2 1/2 years.
By the way, besides browsing the net for LOLcats, do your Virtual Embassy staff members tell you anything else about Iran? Such as, "Mr. President, those sanctions you imposed on the government of Iran have dramatically devalued the currency, made import of basic goods into the country almost impossible, and pretty much made the lives of ordinary Iranians --- especially the ones living below the poverty line --- a living hell."
If they haven't, then shut this stupid project down. If they have, then I have serious doubts about your ability to give honest speeches.
The United States will continue to draw attention to the electronic curtain that is cutting the Iranian people off from the world. And we hope that others will join us in advancing a basic freedom for the Iranian people: the freedom to connect with one another, and with their fellow human beings.
Bravo! No, seriously, you can talk about war now.
Over the last year, we have learned once more that suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people are the heirs to a great and ancient civilization. Like people everywhere, they have the universal right to think and speak for themselves.
They do indeed, and that you are acknowledging this in yet another speech, after an entire year --- or was it two? or does it even matter? ---- is encouraging. Now, please, talk about the war or attack or Operation Basic Unified Long-range Security Hammer Take-down (BULSHT™).
The Iranian government has a responsibility to respect these rights, just as it has a responsibility to meet its obligations with regard to its nuclear program. Let me say again that if the Iranian government pursues a responsible path, it will be welcomed once more among the community of nations, and the Iranian people will have greater opportunities to prosper.
1. Show willingness to throw 70 million people into war.
2. Give four-minute speech congratulating them on their New Year.
3. Look cute.
4. Vaguely mention the possibility of that war in the final 30 seconds of the speech.
6. Expect them to suddenly love you and start naming their babies "Barack".
Did I miss anything?
So in this season of new beginnings, the people of Iran should know that the United States of America seeks a future of deeper connections between our people -- a time when the electronic curtain that divides us is lifted and your voices are heard; a season in which mistrust and fear are overcome by mutual understanding and our common hopes as human beings.
Thank you, and Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak.
No, all done. I guess the only thing left now is to ask the First Lady, "Honey, would you like Indian food tonight since the cook doesn't know any Persian dishes. Close enough, no?"