Call it a litmus moment. The ancient Persian New Year, Nowruz, approacheth — this coming Saturday, March 2oth.
What will President Obama do?
Last year, he extended a hand — or more like both arms — putting out a video message from the White House — remember this? — wishing Happy Nowruz to “you, the people and leaders of Iran.” It was a greeting full of talk about “shared hopes…common dreams…mutual respect” and “this precious humanity we all share.”
Iran’s rulers bit the extended hand (or arms), thumbed their noses at a series of proposed nuclear climbdown deals and deadlines, continued funding and training terrorists dedicated to the destruction first of Israel and ultimately of Western democracy, and stepped up the imprisonment, torture and murder of dissidents to new and widely visible levels — a process that underscored the importance of distinguishing between the people of Iran and their rulers, rather than lumping them all together in one big happy new year’s greeting.
Here we are, as the second Nowruz rolls around, and the tussle continues in Washington, and at the United Nations, over whether or how or when to impose more sanctions on Iran — as the ayatollahs, with their terror-based, predatory regime move ever closer to becoming a nuclear power in the heart of the Middle East. If Obama, the newly laureled Nobel peace-prize winner, is going to say anything at all this year to mark Nowruz, he’d do well to skip any salutation to Iran’s “leaders,” and address only the people of Iran, with the wish that this might be the year they finally achieve the freedoms, and begin the transition to the kind of benign democracy they have been so brutally denied. With Washington absorbed in Obama’s manufactured “crisis” over “healthcare,” there are real crises out there that the White House just keeps letting slide — especially Iran’s nuclear program. But Nowruz is coming round again. How will Obama handle it this time?