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March 9, 2009

CSM: Obama should hold Nowruz town-hall to send message to Khamenei

A great idea from Joshua Gross at the Christian Science Monitor:

The Iranian calendar offers Obama an ideal opportunity to reach out to them and challenge common misperceptions. Nowruz, the Persian New Year, will be celebrated later this month. Obama should take advantage of this unique moment to travel to California and hold a town-hall meeting with the Iranian diaspora. In the context of a major speech to this community, Obama will be able to address the Iranian people and the Iranian government indirectly, without the political fallout of stalled direct negotiations.
{snip}Such a speech should avoid specific policy prescriptions, but emphasize the desire for a “new approach.” Iran’s constructive role in the early stages of Afghanistan’s reconstruction should also be acknowledged.
Germans found a partner in President Kennedy when they believed they were alone and abandoned. Russians who were desperate to experience the outside world were heartened by President Reagan’s passionate insistence that President Gorbachev “tear down this wall.”
The day may soon come when Iranians – disillusioned by the failures of their revolution, alienated by our previous president’s arrogance and pugilism – find hope in the simple, respectful words spoken by a compassionate US president.

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