The U.S. State Department recently launched the Virtual Embassy Tehran website to foster a cultural connection between the United States and Iran and to connect Iranian people with more information about the U.S.
The last actual Tehran embassy was shut down in 1980 after the catastrophic events of the hostage crisis in 1979. Since then, Switzerland has helped the United States carry out consular and humanitarian missions. After the U.S. created a USA darFarsi Facebook and Twitter account, it discovered that many people wanted to discuss American topics and opportunities.
“We know that the Iranian people remain hungry for information about the United States – information about travel to the U.S., educational opportunities, and our policies toward Iran and the rest of the world,” according to a State Department press release.
The website is in English and Persian and encourages freedom of expression and freedom of the press, two of America’s core values. The content focuses on multiple viewpoints, a democratic society, and America’s efforts to resolve conflicts with the Iranian government. Because the United States and Iran do not have diplomatic relations, the website is a key platform to educate each country’s citizens about American policy, culture, and citizenship. Outreach between Iranian and U.S. citizens is crucial to opening up the dialogue to create a more civil, open society for Iran’s citizens.
As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said “…the young people of Iran carry within you both the ancient greatness of Persian civilization and the power to forge a country that is responsive to your aspirations.”
Virtual Embassy Tehran is made “…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.”
Iranian students and business people who are looking to study, work, or attend a business conference in the U.S. can find more information on the site about visas and traveling to the United States. Beyond Facebook and Twitter, website visitors can access the site’s YouTube videos and blogs. Important links to U.S. government institutions and citizenship services are also given. Iranian traditions, holidays, and charitable contributions are mentioned too.
The news portion of the website gives breaking news and Middle East news from Voice of America. The website is in stark contrast to the Iranian government that “…tries to limit what its citizens see, hear, think, and feel…this very expensive endeavor is bound to fail in today’s increasingly interactive world,” according to the State Department.
Stewart Rabinowitz is President of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. Mr. Rabinowitz is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. To contact a Dallas immigration lawyer or Dallas immigration attorney visit http://www.rabinowitzrabinowitz.com.