Blood in the streets of Tehran but don't let that spoil a good party

Rick Moran
Despite the brutality in the streets of Iran, the president's invitation to Iranian diplomats to attend 4th of July celebrations at American embassies around the world is still on.

AFP reports:

The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.President Barack Obama's administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"There's no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

"We have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran," Kelly said. "We tried many years of isolation, and we're pursuing a different path now."

But he said it was not clear if Iranian diplomats had accepted the invitations.

The State Department has said that the invitations are largely a symbolic gesture of goodwill and that the July 4 barbecues were not intended to take up substantive policy matters.

The fact that even the State Department admits this idiotic, futile, and naive gesture is a failure is telling. There was never any chance any Iranian leader would have allowed any of their diplomats to make direct contact with Americans in any setting - social or not.

But now Obama is stuck because withdrawing the invitation - even as a result of the thuggishness in the street - would be a serious diplomatic matter not to mention an insult to the Iranians whose cultural sensitivities would be offended by any rescinded invitation. What started as a PR gesture largely for American consumption has now blown up into a major diplomatic demarche.

Not even the Keystone Kops were this dumb.



Despite the brutality in the streets of Iran, the president's invitation to Iranian diplomats to attend 4th of July celebrations at American embassies around the world is still on.

AFP reports:

The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.President Barack Obama's administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"There's no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

"We have made a strategic decision to engage on a number of fronts with Iran," Kelly said. "We tried many years of isolation, and we're pursuing a different path now."

But he said it was not clear if Iranian diplomats had accepted the invitations.

The State Department has said that the invitations are largely a symbolic gesture of goodwill and that the July 4 barbecues were not intended to take up substantive policy matters.

The fact that even the State Department admits this idiotic, futile, and naive gesture is a failure is telling. There was never any chance any Iranian leader would have allowed any of their diplomats to make direct contact with Americans in any setting - social or not.

But now Obama is stuck because withdrawing the invitation - even as a result of the thuggishness in the street - would be a serious diplomatic matter not to mention an insult to the Iranians whose cultural sensitivities would be offended by any rescinded invitation. What started as a PR gesture largely for American consumption has now blown up into a major diplomatic demarche.

Not even the Keystone Kops were this dumb.