By Shirin Jamshidi
December 7, 2011, Washington, D.C. – More than three decades after the well-known storming of the US embassy in Tehran and the hostage taking of the diplomats for 444 days, the Obama administration has launched a virtual embassy for Iran to open the direct communications with the people of Iran.
The virtual embassy is one of the many attempts by the American government to engage in a direct dialogue with the Iranian people. “This is a platform for us to communicate with each other — openly and without fear — about the United States, about our policies, our culture and the American people,” US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said in a statement.
It was this desire for dialogue that led the U.S. State Department to create the USAdarFarsi Twitter account and Facebook page earlier this year. According to State Department press release, the information received by Iranians led to the creation of the new website. “The feedback we have received from ordinary Iranians led us to try something new: a website designed for Iranians- in Persian – shaped by what you wanted, and an opportunity for you to tell us more about what you think and why. In response, we have created Virtual Embassy Tehran to offer you another perspective and another source of information, so you can make up your own minds about the U.S., our concerns about the Iranian government’s activities at home and abroad, and our serious efforts to achieve a resolution to those concerns.”
Despite the importance of the virtual embassy for both the people of Iran and Iranian American community, the website does not constitute a formal diplomatic mission, nor does it represent or function as a real U.S. Embassy. Instead, the web-based embassy, which has versions in English and Persian, provides information about U.S. government policy, American citizen services, immigration and visa issues, and student programs in the United States, amongst other matters. The virtual embassy is solely meant to take a step forward in filling the communications gap between the people of Iran and the United States over the past several decades.
Click here to see what Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Remark for the launch of the Virtual Embassy
Click here to visit the Virtual Embassy Tehran.