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Trump’s Empty Message to Iranians

Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom

Iranians celebrated Nowruz earlier this week. A message went out from the White House to mark the occasion, but it was such a strange and hostile message that John Limbert wonders why they bothered:

The Nowruz statement lacks any connection to its purported author. Does anyone believe President Trump knows anything about Darius the Great? Does anyone believe he knows or cares about Iran’s rich culture?

The message’s tone is berating and hectoring. It blames Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for terrorism, poverty, youth unemployment, censorship, corruption, repression, and even for drought and dust storms. If the message has any purpose, it is to make the author (whoever it is) feel good that he has vented his grievances. It demonstrates the truth of what former president Obama said at Oslo in 2009 when he noted the futility of “the satisfying purity of indignation.”

On top of everything else, the administration’s message is clearly a lie. It would be simply laughable if it weren’t paired with intensely hostile policies. When the Trump administration bars Iranian nationals from traveling to the U.S. and it prepares to renege on a nuclear deal and impose new sanctions on Iran’s economy, the claim that this administration “stands with the Iranian people in their aspirations to connect to the wider world” could not be further from the truth. As Limbert notes, nominating Pompeo to be Secretary of State and appointing Bolton as National Security Advisor reflect the administration’s abiding hostility to Iran and its people. Trump has made it plain that he has no interest in engaging with Iran’s people or their government, and he is determined to undo an agreement that was supposed to allow Iran to resume normal commerce and trade with other nations. Like his previous empty expressions of “support” for protests in Iran, Trump’s Nowruz message is meaningless and isn’t fooling anyone.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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