Not since Baryshnikov has a foreigner so captivated a New York audience. “A Conversation with H.E. DR. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran” played the other day at NYU. The show ran for just 90 minutes, but reviews were spectacular. Give this man a Tony: Zarif slayed ’em.
“Demonstrating suave fluency in English and a familiarity with American history and law,” wrote the New York Times, “Iran’s foreign minister said Wednesday that the United States would risk global ostracism if it were to scrap a signed international pact that resolves the Iranian nuclear dispute.” Zarif, the Times went on, “was easygoing and smiling, living up to his image as a diplomatic charmer to an audience that was polite and respectful.” Not to mention sycophantic.
Zarif, adds Dexter Filkins of the New Yorker, “comes off as practically American.” Why? Well, “He went to college in the United States, at San Francisco State University, and to graduate school at the University of Denver. As Ambassador to the United Nations, he lived in New York for five years. His English is perfect.”
Perfect English? Is that all it takes to have reporters and diplomats praise your suavity and charisma, chuckle at your jokes, cavil to your every demand? Bibi Netanyahu’s English is perfect too—but Hell will freeze before he sees Zarif’s press.
I don’t find the Iranian foreign minister a “diplomatic charmer” at all. His demeanor at NYU was arrogant, insulting, bullying, unrepentant…