Iranian FM Javad Zarif 370.
(photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
The Iranian government has ramped up its Internet outreach over its nuclear
program in recent days, in advance of the nuclear negotiations that began on
Wednesday in Geneva.
The Iranian foreign minister recorded an English
YouTube video explaining, partly on a moral level, the country’s right to
The video – with subtitles in Arabic, Persian, Turkish
and French – was published on Tuesday and had accrued nearly 120,000 views by
The five-minute video opened with piano music and showed
Mohammed Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, apparently strolling through
the palatial headquarters of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
He then took a
seat in front of a wooden bookshelf that featured classic works of Iranian
poetry, including Hafez and Ferdowsi.
While most of the book spines were
in Persian, the two titles most clearly readable in English were two atlas
volumes of the Persian Gulf – perhaps a reference to a long-running dispute over
the name of the body of water.
Zarif spoke in a measured, circuitous way,
only saying the word “nuclear” three times.
The beginning of his address
was more akin to a professor’s lecture than a policy address by a nuclear
“What is dignity?” he asked. “What is respect?” Concluding
the video like an American political candidate, Zarif said, “My name is Javad
Zarif, and this is Iran’s message.”
The Twitter account belonging to
President Hassan Rouhani, meanwhile, heavily promoted a slick new
English-language website that purports to explain the truth behind Iran’s nuclear
The website’s articles are structured like a Wikipedia entry,
albeit an un-editable version.
The social media accounts of Iranian
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei mirrored this, but with more aggressive
anti-American and anti-Israeli public statements.