According to the Voice of America, President Obama’s holiday message to the Iranian people on Thursday night drew millions of listeners to the VOA and its website. Many of these listeners have come from Iran, where media is restricted.
Here is the video:
According to the VOA, “By Monday, VOA sites had more than 134,000 views of the three-minute speech, which Obama delivered late last Thursday as Iranians prepared to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian new year. The video was posted on www.VOANews.com, www.VOANews.com/persian/, and VOA’s partner YouTube channels. VOA’s Persian News Network (PNN) also broadcast the message to Iran, a country with a restricted media, on satellite television and on shortwave radio.”
The VOA’s Persian News Network spent the weekend reading emails from
Iranians about Obama’s message on the air. One emailer said that he was pleased with Obama’s, “message because he (Obama) actually recognizes the Islamic Republic of Iran.” The writer also said he hoped Iran’s leaders “will study Obama’s speech and make a good decision.”
The Iranian government dismissed Obama’s message relatively quickly by saying that haven’t seen any change in the U.S. policy, but it is this kind of outreach by Obama that could have a large impact with Iranian people.
The reaction by the Iranian people to Obama’s message is the first evidence that the hard headed and confrontational approach advocated by Republicans may not be the correct path to take in dealing with Iran. I am not suggesting that embrace the regime in Iran, but that there is room for sincere attempts to reach out to the Iranian people.
There are two huge issues that need to be resolved before the US/Iranian relationship can improve. Iran’s nuclear program, and their financing and supporting of terrorism must be dealt with first. These are activities of the Iranian government, and it is wise of Obama to separate the policies of the government from the hearts of the people. If nothing else, Obama’s message demonstrated that the era of saber rattling and demanding is over. If the Iranian government is willing to make some changes, then the U.S. would be willing to sit down and talk.