Video: Good Morning, Iran!

posted at 9:37 am on March 20, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama sent a video message to the “people and the leaders of Iran,” a holiday greeting for Nowruz, their New Year celebration.  For the most part, it’s a benign, generic message of friendship, although Obama does gently tell Tehran that threats and terrorism will keep them from their “rightful place” in the community of nations:

Stephen Hayes provides a transcript for the more meaningful parts:

So in this season of new beginnings I would like to speak clearly to Iran’s leaders. We have serious differences that have grown over time. My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community. This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.You, too, have a choice. The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right — but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization. And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create.

“Demonstrated ability to build and create”? Other than the nuclear weapons it’s building, what exactly does that mean? Iran has to import most of its manufactured goods. It has to import gasoline, despite being an oil-rich nation, because it can’t refine its own crude output.  The Russians are building their nuclear plants.

Hayes warns that forgetting Iran’s ties to terrorists and their efforts to kill Americans in Iran is dangerous business.  He’s right, but I don’t see this video as evidence (yet) of that kind of amnesia.  It’s a fairly generic example of diplomacy through direct communication, not all that much different than what we used to do with Voice of America.  Obama offers a friendship message and speaks of the carrots in an outreach without publicly mentioning the sticks.  That makes sense in a friendship message; we want to build affection for America, especially with younger Iranians, and insulting their leadership and issuing threats in a Nowruz message would hardly help.

If we’re dropping the sticks altogether, that’s definitely a problem.


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fogw on March 20, 2009 at 11:03 AM

A video lets Iranians know nothing. A video may give off whatever impression you may see…but it provides no facts or true insight as to actions actually being taken. Cmon, are you really telling me that some BS video is going to act as our entire bilateral relationship? Please…all sorts of statements and gestures are made by all sorts of nations that don’t represent the be all end all of that country’s options.

You may not like the sentiment expressed in the video…but its really not a serious indicator of anything…just a generic gesture, as Ed wrote in his original post. you’re truly overstating its importance.

ernesto on March 20, 2009 at 11:06 AM

…their capabilities are so much weaker than the soviet unions were…
ernesto on March 20, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Yet the Soviet Union was rational. The Soviets did not hand off nukes to terrorist proxies to sneak into the civilized world and destroy major cities. The Soviets didn’t subscribe to the most twisted strain of Islam on the planet, hoping to create the apocalypse with no concern for their own destruction.

As far as accepting anything they say as true to build that loving trusting relationship some pine for, I have only one word for you: Taqiyya.

Maquis on March 20, 2009 at 11:12 AM

You may not like the sentiment expressed in the video…but its really not a serious indicator of anything…just a generic gesture, as Ed wrote in his original post. you’re truly overstating its importance.

ernesto on March 20, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Exactly!

An unserious statement by an unserious man addressing a deadly serious situation.

What could go wrong?

Maquis on March 20, 2009 at 11:14 AM

Maquis on March 20, 2009 at 11:12 AM

I wasn’t aware Iran has sponsored nuclear terrorism. Im sure that would’ve been in the news. As for twisted Islam, its messianic nature mirrors that of evangelical christianity. If their messianic views of the end of the world worry you, shouldn’t it worry you when evangelical christians who also feel Jesus is coming in their lifetime hold levers of power?

The hard line you take allows for only one option. should iran represent as belligerent an actor on the world stage as you and otheres here insist, full scale war is the only option.

either advocate full scale war, or admit that we have other options and other means for dealing with Iran. other means like multilateral diplomatic wrangling…other means like a missile shield. Obama has left many options open. you seem to feel there should be only one. war.

ernesto on March 20, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Maquis on March 20, 2009 at 11:14 AM

there are legitimate differences of opinion on how deadly serious that situation is…as there were over the Iraq situation. those on the “not so serious” end of THAT discussion were vindicated.

ernesto on March 20, 2009 at 11:17 AM

I wasn’t aware Iran has sponsored nuclear terrorism. Im sure that would’ve been in the news.

Yeah, Tel Aviv glowing orange will make headlines, and that’s why Iran is crazy enough to do it.

Other means like multilateral diplomatic wrangling…

How do you translate “reset” into Farsi?

ernesto on March 20, 2009 at 11:16 AM

chunderroad on March 20, 2009 at 11:22 AM

Bleh. Stupid block quotes.

chunderroad on March 20, 2009 at 11:22 AM

I’m sure Osama Obama thinks the whole Iran issue is settled now that he took precious time out of his day — had to make those b-ball picks and get ready to appear on Leno’s show — to let them know that all will be rainbows and unicorns if they just “talk” to him. Or, more accurately, listen to him and though have “breakout” sessions….

We could have had our first woman president if The Hildebeest had made it. Instead, we get the first president with no b*lls.

I can only think this arrogant fool has never opened a history book in his life.

How long will it take the next president to fix all the messes the child-president is making? I’m thinking it’ll be decades, if not longer.

MrScribbler on March 20, 2009 at 11:23 AM

A video lets Iranians know nothing.

ernesto on March 20, 2009 at 11:06 AM

A. You couldn’t be more wrong.
B. I don’t always agree with Ed.

I will agree with you on one count, a BS video of no importance fits the Obama profile perfectly.

fogw on March 20, 2009 at 11:25 AM

Hoorah!

Peace in our time!

….wait a minute…that sounds kinda familiar. Oh well its probably not important.

H

Hochmeister on March 20, 2009 at 11:28 AM

fogw on March 20, 2009 at 11:25 AM

oh? so every diplomatic gesture any country gives must be taken at face value? you’d recommend full scale war with russia then too…over their statement of intent regarding bombers in latin america? invading cuba and venezuela? i mean, they’ve all made pretty threatening statements.

ernesto on March 20, 2009 at 11:28 AM

See how arrogant and naive this radical idealogue is?

marklmail on March 20, 2009 at 11:30 AM

I’m sure Osama Obama thinks the whole Iran issue is settled now that he took precious time out of his day
MrScribbler on March 20, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Ha – The Telepromter multi-tasks.

nolapol on March 20, 2009 at 11:33 AM

I wasn’t aware Iran has sponsored nuclear terrorism. Im sure that would’ve been in the news.

Oh yeah, Iran is big on terrorism, it’s fairly well known, actually.

Nuclear? Well, see, seems their secret nuke plans have been outed and some of us most certainly are concerned about it.

As for twisted Islam, its messianic nature mirrors that of evangelical christianity. If their messianic views of the end of the world worry you, shouldn’t it worry you when evangelical christians who also feel Jesus is coming in their lifetime hold levers of power?

Let me know when you come across a cult seeking to accelerate their own special second coming by igniting the apocalypse with their own hands. And no, I’m not worried, the “parallel” is quite weak.

you seem to feel there should be only one. war.

Not at all.

But talk alone is foolishness, and foolish talk can be suicidal.

there are legitimate differences of opinion on how deadly serious that situation is…as there were over the Iraq situation. those on the “not so serious” end of THAT discussion were vindicated.

Well, if you’ll remember, it seems there was this protracted effort to “legitimize” our efforts there that gave good old Sadaam the better part of a year to dispose of his WMD efforts. And as has been noted by others in this thread, Sadaam and Sons were the WMD, in terms of possession of knowledge and technology and materials, and, most dangerously, intent and willingness to use. Vindication? If you say so…

Maquis on March 20, 2009 at 11:34 AM

This is getting scary. It’s one thing to insult the Special Olympics (my mother’s favorite charity). . . it’s entirely different to tell people who want to kill us how much you want to like them.

If this keeps up, Obama will be the last african american president because people will be afraid that the next african american president would be exactly like him. I expect the next minority to be hispanic. I hope the African Americans enjoy their brief run. Any african american who runs from now on will be considered a joke. The term Obama will be a joke bigger than Carter. . . and it won’t be because of his race.

Obama is an utter failure. . . and it’s going to get worse.

ThackerAgency on March 20, 2009 at 11:35 AM

I remember telling a friend of mine about Obama’s plan to reach out to Iran and she told me that I was crazy or not paying attention to his actual words.

Guess which one of us is right….

This is a serious thing, no matter the dismissiveness people use. Iran sponsors terrorism (unless of course, Jews, Iraqis, and American troops don’t count as people then I guess they don’t). They’re building nuclear reactions for “power” in spite of the fact that they’re sitting on a lake of oil. They kill people for being gay, they kill women for having sex outside of marriage, they mutilate women’s genitals, they kill Christians and Jews in their own country. They are not Mr. Rogers here and anyone who thinks that the Iranians are interested in peace with the West is seriously naive.

mjk on March 20, 2009 at 11:38 AM

As for twisted Islam, its messianic nature mirrors that of evangelical christianity. If their messianic views of the end of the world worry you, shouldn’t it worry you when evangelical christians who also feel Jesus is coming in their lifetime hold levers of power?

Last I checked, Christians aren’t honor killing women or suicide bombing Jews. Then again I don’t subscribe to “Crazy Conspiracy and Idiotic Statements” newspaper…

mjk on March 20, 2009 at 11:40 AM

oh? so every diplomatic gesture any country gives must be taken at face value? you’d recommend full scale war with russia then too

ernesto on March 20, 2009 at 11:28 AM

What do you mean, too? I don’t recall recommending full scale war with anyone. Don’t put words in my mouth.

Reagan never had to go to that extreme, yet he brought the Soviet Union to it’s knees. He didn’t do that with BS videos of little importance, he drew a line in the sand and dared the Ruskies to cross it. They didn’t fear his words, they feared his actions.

Had we dealt with the Russians in the same manner Obama wants to deal with Iran, we would have shown weakness, they would have picked up on it and they would still have a presence in Europe – maybe all of it, given the number of socialist weenies populating those countries today.

fogw on March 20, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Yeh, you’re right. China is a completely free and open society, where it citizens live in a democracy and their government is a servant to them. Same for Iran.
I expect these people will overthrow their government any day now.
Get serious.
fogw on March 20, 2009 at 10:18 AM

While true China is not exactly a “completely free and open society”, at least Hot Air isn’t filtered here. Even if it was it wouldn’t be hard to get to. I suppose moderately sophisticated Iranians could get to this video without much trouble. I hate to admit it, but nice343 is correct on a minor point. For once.

DarkCurrent on March 20, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Sigh! 4 more years…………………………………..

GarandFan on March 20, 2009 at 11:50 AM

DarkCurrent on March 20, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Should add I hope not many Iranians in fact see it. It comes across as weak and ineffectual. I kind of warmongering from the wrong direction.

DarkCurrent on March 20, 2009 at 11:50 AM

What is this? Can you imagine if the Ayatollah recorded an Easter message? What an insult.

LibTired on March 20, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Good for him.
Better than warmongering.
getalife on March 20, 2009 at 10:48 AM

If it has any real effect at all it will be to show the Iranian regime that Obama is a moronic wuss.

DarkCurrent on March 20, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Should add I hope not many Iranians in fact see it. It comes across as weak and ineffectual. I kind of warmongering from the wrong direction.

DarkCurrent on March 20, 2009 at 11:50 AM

Remember the stories we heard after the wall came down about the Soviet political prisoners hearing about Reagan’s speeches and the hope and joy they gained from that? And the things they did because of that encouragement? That was powerful.

Unfortunately, as you have noted, Obama does indeed come across as weak and ineffectual, and it will most likely be painful to watch the consequences.

Maquis on March 20, 2009 at 11:56 AM

If Obama thinks he was addressing the Islamic leaders in Iran he blew it. They think Naw Ruz is a pagan festival which undermines Islamic piety.

Annar on March 20, 2009 at 9:53 AM

Thanks for the tip. After reading your post I read up about it a little. As you said, Naw Ruz predates Islam by millenia and has no direct connection to the Mullah’s ‘faith’.

DarkCurrent on March 20, 2009 at 11:58 AM

he drew a line in the sand and dared the Ruskies to cross it.
fogw on March 20, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Jesus don’t give Obambi any ideas. The Mullahs and Ruskies would surely cross it (the Line).
Does anyone really fear (read respect) the guy. He hasn’t held fast on one belief.

nolapol on March 20, 2009 at 11:59 AM

What is this? Can you imagine if the Ayatollah recorded an Easter message? What an insult.

LibTired on March 20, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Annar pointed out that it’s a pagan holiday pre-dating Islam. More like the Ayatollah recording a Halloween message…

DarkCurrent on March 20, 2009 at 12:01 PM

ernesto on March 20, 2009 at 11:28 AM

I make it a habit, after WW2, to believe others when they tell me well in advance that they want me and mine dead. There are other, better ways to merely seek attention. So if you want to risk it all on a throw of the dice, whether the Persians are trustworthy? Risk your own neck. And only your own neck. Keep me and mine out of it.

Blacksmith on March 20, 2009 at 12:11 PM

I suppose moderately sophisticated Iranians could get to this video without much trouble. I hate to admit it, but nice343 is correct on a minor point. For once.

DarkCurrent on March 20, 2009 at 11:48 AM

You “suppose” and therefore nice343 is correct. OK.

fogw on March 20, 2009 at 12:13 PM

You “suppose” and therefore nice343 is correct. OK.

fogw on March 20, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Ok, I “suppose” nice343 is correct on a minor point. For once.

Better?

DarkCurrent on March 20, 2009 at 12:14 PM

The best hello that Iran could receive is a mushroom cloud.

workingforpigs on March 20, 2009 at 12:16 PM

I suspect that Obama is paying his contributors back in Iran with this dialog.

workingforpigs on March 20, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Ok, I “suppose” nice343 is correct on a minor point. For once.

Better?

DarkCurrent on March 20, 2009 at 12:14 PM

I suppose.

fogw on March 20, 2009 at 12:17 PM

wasn’t aware Iran has sponsored nuclear terrorism. Im sure that would’ve been in the news.

it was not on the Daily Show, so you must have missed it. Iran was financing a secret nuclear project between Syria and North Korea.

runner on March 20, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Max Headroom. That’s all I saw as I watched that video. Please please please someone with sweet editing skillz create a Max Headroom style mash up from it.

Brat on March 20, 2009 at 12:40 PM

Stop the presses is this why Jimmuh Carter visited the White House the other day? Did he review/approve the video, because of his enormous success with Iran?

Brat on March 20, 2009 at 12:51 PM

How do you translate “teleprompter” into Farsi……..?

Seven Percent Solution on March 20, 2009 at 1:01 PM

But Obama has so much in common with the Mullahs. He is incapable and hates America.
.
To make a real point with the Iranians we should drop leaflets, a mushroom cloud with the translation of “This is only a test, in the event of a real nuclear response you would be dead. Have a nice day.”

darktood on March 20, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Ah, the new propaganda. We used to drop leaflets from the sky. Now the president of the United States virals YouTube videos in order to reach the street. Still, there’s a bit of a**-kissing in it that is uncomfortable to watch.

Halli Casser-Jayne
http://www.thecjpoliticalreport.com

The CJ Political Report on March 20, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Just when you thought that the Obama Administration is just having a bad week…maybe give The One the benefit of the doubt…along comes yet another wonderful bit showing that Obama’s people just aren’t up to the task…not even close.

Last week the US government deported a Nazi war criminal…to Austria. The guy, Josias Kumpf, 83, is a free man today because he cannot be prosecuted under Austrian law. According to the Austrian Justice Department spokesperson, “We have always pointed out to the United States that he cannot be charged here with the crimes of which he is accused.

And we are going to let the Obama Administration decide which Gitmo detainees are safe to bring to the United States? And which ones will be sent to other countries?

This video presentation to Iran…to celebrate what is essentially anathema to Moslems…Nowruz, which recalls the cosmological and mythological times of Iran, pre-Islam, of course, very very pre-Islam…was seen by the White House as a wonderful way to ingratiate the US with the Mullahs? Gee, will the White House send a special message to Israel to warm up US-Israeli relations on April 20th?

coldwarrior on March 20, 2009 at 1:19 PM

per Breitbart:

It wasn’t clear how many Iranians were able to see the video, which was not aired on state television in Iran on Friday. It was likely shown on Farsi-language TV stations beamed in from outside of the country, but many Iranians don’t watch television in the first days of long Nowruz holiday that is normally filled with family gatherings or vacations away from home.

Maybe the WH could send over some Region 1 DVDs?

eucher on March 20, 2009 at 1:20 PM

American Power tracked-back with, “Obama’s Message to the Iranian People”:

http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2009/03/obamas-message-to-iranian-people.html

Donald Douglas on March 20, 2009 at 1:23 PM

But do the Iranians realize that its actually the teleprompter talking?

vcferlita on March 20, 2009 at 1:26 PM

The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right —

Here we go again with rights…like the right to other peoples money, the right to own a home, the right for illegals to receive all manner of benefits, the right of terrorists to enjoy constitutional protections. The Iranians via their actions and rhetoric have earned nothing but condemnation and scorn and are very fortunate to have survived this long! Obama’s liberal moral relativity and utopian immaturity are destroying this country right before our eyes. I as a taxpayer and patriot have the right challenge his policies and work to remove him from office.

All Hail this POTUS

dmann on March 20, 2009 at 1:27 PM

The guy who filmed the video was quoted as saying: “Right, It was very… very interesting message but I have to go now Mr. Obama, because I’m due back on the planet earth.”

Michelle Dubois on March 20, 2009 at 1:31 PM

The Tehranian Candidate…

phreshone on March 20, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Day 59 of Barry’s War on Prosperity

All you will need is a prayer mat…

phreshone on March 20, 2009 at 2:04 PM

Hoorah!

Peace in our time!

….wait a minute…that sounds kinda familiar. Oh well its probably not important.

Hochmeister on March 20, 2009 at 11:28 AM

Neville Chamberlain he would never emulate
As he thinks that he thought too small and gave too little too late

MB4 on March 20, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Last week the US government deported a Nazi war criminal…to Austria. The guy, Josias Kumpf, 83, is a free man today because he cannot be prosecuted under Austrian law.

coldwarrior on March 20, 2009 at 1:19 PM

Prosecute an 83 year old for charges against a 19, or younger, year old?

MB4 on March 20, 2009 at 2:16 PM

it is your demonstrated ability to build and create

Apparently, Mr. President, Harvard owes you your money back.

Saltysam on March 20, 2009 at 2:36 PM

If we’re dropping the sticks altogether, that’s definitely a problem.

Therein lies the rub. Any bets on whether Obambi actually knows how to carry a stick? Yea, yea, the speak softly part, he has that down pat. The stick part, I don’t really think so.

PersonalLiberty on March 20, 2009 at 3:09 PM

Obama offers a friendship message and speaks of the carrots in an outreach without publicly mentioning the sticks.

Wasn’t it Tehran that objected to this language, in that it implied they were jackasses? (I’m not making a joke here: somebody did, and I think it was Iran.)

Tzetzes on March 20, 2009 at 3:10 PM

It’s we are the change we believe in” distilled into a foreign policy statement.

rob verdi on March 20, 2009 at 4:43 PM

OK, so how long is he going to play nice with these guys, because every time he sends those positive waves their way, they just, like, uh, don’t get it, Man and are like all mean and nasty and stuff. Bummer.

Pathetic. I don’t think one has to be Kissinger to recognize that you have to make sure behind the scenes that such overtures are in fact welcomed before going public with it.

Sounds almost like Obama’s guilty of sexual harassment against Ahmadinewackjob.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 20, 2009 at 8:50 PM

Now people, we don’t say terrorism, terrorist or terror any more. we say terrorism = “man caused disaster”, terrorist=”man caused disaster causer” terror = “disaster caused by man” or something.

Loved the speech, he had me at the part about “mutual respect”, would that be mutual respect for big thingys that go boom and poison the earth (kinda like carbon emissions) or perhaps mutual respect for human rights, or freedom and democracy or what??

kringeesmom on March 20, 2009 at 9:37 PM

My Iranian friend was so angry that Obama called it the Islamic Republic of Iran. She said that most Iranians don’t want it to be Islamic. Its a terribly oppressive government. The fact that Obama called it that is insulting to the Iranian people.

rising21 on March 21, 2009 at 12:23 AM

Anyone notice how amateur this thing looked. What was with the tight face shots?

Where was the flag in the background?

Looked like a hostage video to me.

Dpet on March 21, 2009 at 6:21 AM

Heads up Obama! The Iranians now consider you a “girlie man”!
You people should do a little research on the cultures you try to use your “diplomacy” on. Iran now sees us in “defensive” mode.

hopefloats on March 21, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Ernesto, regarding Evangelical Christians and Shiite Muslims: If Bush ever gave any hint that he wanted to hasten the End of Times by pushing the nuclear button he would have been removed from office within 10 seconds. On the other hand, everyone in Iran knows that Ahmedinejad believes that the End of Times is upon us and the final struggle is only waiting for the perfect weapon to trigger the event.

Your fatuous comparison between evangelical Christians and Iranian Muslims would be funny if not so deadly.

Please see planck’s 12th Imam

bernieg1 on April 6, 2009 at 5:29 PM

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