Besides throwing the Special Olympics under the short bus yesterday, Obama made a pretty bold soft power move by issuing a video addressing the Iranian people and its leadership on the occasion of Nowruz (Persian New Year). Not a terrible idea, since not exercising all diplomatic options prior to conflict would be madness. However, it unsurprisingly was met with disdain by Iran's leadership. FOX News has a little blurb about Iran saying "neigh", and using the power of teh google news aggregator, I was able to dig up this FARS News Agency (one of Iran's propaganda mills) article:
The new US administration needed a "fundamental change in attitude", he said. But Iran would "not show its back" to Obama if the US put its words into practice.You're pretty standard Iranian fanfare about our support of Israel and past involvement with the Shah. Of course, nothing from Iran about their aggression of the last 3 decades from kidnapped diplomats to flying drones above neighboring countries to undermine regional security. However, it seems like the video was a clever way to reach out to the Iranian people ahead of their elections, and the vid is getting some serious attention on the Middle Eastern satellite stations.
"By fundamentally changing its behavior, America can offer us a friendly hand. So far what we have received have been unfriendly fists. Unlimited sanctions which still continue and have been renewed by the United States are wrong and need to be reviewed," he said...
...But Iranian memories go back much further, to the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overthrew the nationalist prime minister Mossadegh, and decades of American support for the shah. As Obama pointed out, with presidential understatement, it would not be easy to overcome "the old divisions".
Javanfekr also singled out US backing for Israel, Iran's arch-enemy and currently the only nuclear power in the Middle East.
The Persians are smart enough to have good taste in music, so perhaps they'll realize that all the ridiculous conspiracy theories about the West attempting to assassinate Ahmadinejad with airport X-rays is simply state-issued propaganda to distract the citizenry. Also, observational evidence suggests that Iranians don't have some deep-seated hatred towards America and in fact have some affinity for Western culture. Fundamentalist theocracies will inevitably collapse during an information age, since control of media by the state becomes less and less feasible. Perhaps the President was just trying to hasten the process.