U.S. Farsi Spokesman Alan Eyre Invokes His “Good Name”
In March 2011, the U.S. State Department appointed a diplomat to engage directly with Iranians in their own language. Their designated “Farsi Spokesman” was Alan Eyre, whose Facebook page currently has over 84,000 followers. On March 5th, 2014—the 47th anniversary of the death of democratically elected Premier Mohammad Mossadegh—Eyre took to social media to pay homage to the deposed Persian leader.
While it may seem like a minor gesture, it demonstrates visible progress. In paying tribute to Dr. Mossadegh, the U.S. government is recognizing that he was an honorable figure with a dignified legacy, who remains very popular with many of his countrymen. In fact, Eyre caps his post with a fragment of a Persian poem by Saadi from the book of Golestan (The Rose Garden) having to do with the virtue of leaving a good name behind after one is gone. In short, the United States allowed a representative to go on the record on its behalf and state that Mossadegh was a good guy after all.
Obviously, this is significant because of the history. The 1953 coup is still a sore point in US-Iran relations, so Eyre’s recognition of the crime could have some healing value. Yet Eyre is, after all, in the realm of politics, so he tempers his goodwill gesture with a qualifier: Iranians, he suggests, should remember the past but not obsess over it.
Since advising aggrieved parties to “get over it” is a favorite aphorism of the oppressor, this might signal a golden opportunity for America to teach by demonstration.
Alan Eyre — March 5, 2014
Alan Eyre’s Facebook post received 5,540 likes, 590 comments and 564 shares. The overwhelming majority of commenters were critical of the U.S.-sponsored coup. Here is a sampling of some of the top comments, as translated from Persian.
امروز سالگرد درگذشت این وطن پرست و مبارز ملی بزرگوار، دکتر محمد مصدق، است - روانش شاد باشد. من با نقش غرب در... http://t.co/D4zRTUpEvy— Alan Eyre (@AlanEyre1) March 5, 2014
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