Each time the Iranian Islamic dictatorship condemns the Voice of America by name for broadcasting news of anti-government demonstrations into that country, it can only mean more dollars for the VOA's Persian News Network — and VOA in general — at budget time on Capitol Hill.
An unyielding belief in strength over suppleness — constantly deploying the full force of both the sword and the mouth — may lie at the core of that old warrior Sen. John McCain's criticism that President Obama has been too passive in reacting to Iranian protests against that country's controversial elections.
On June 7, North Korea's highest court sentenced two American journalists to 12 years of hard labor, a sentence more severe than most had predicted.
For all the brainpower that Barack Obama has brought to Washington, the only senior official with the right touch for articulating policy via the media seems to be the President himself. Last week he scored big in two TV firsts — a taped for broadcast greeting to Iran and an appearance on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show.
The British Council announced at the start of February, that we have had to suspend our operations in Iran. A sad day for the British Council, and also for tens of thousands of Iranians who have engaged with our cultural and education programmes in recent years. So far so uncontroversial. However, let’s not forget the deeper loss – the loss to the people of the UK.
It doesn’t count as public diplomacy — not yet. But the way in which the Iranian authorities have permitted foreign media visits, especially coverage by major American media (e.g., NPR and the NYT) , not to mention official Iranian comments on bilateral relations, suggests a whiff of change toward caring what the Western world thinks.