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The American Government Official That Iranians Love

Alan Eyre is the US State Department’s Persian Language Spokesperson and Iranians love him for his Persian speaking abilities and knowledge of Sufi poetry. He’s the first ever US diplomat to appear on Iranian state television and this article from the Guardian claims that his social media presence has elevated him to near-celebrity status among Iranians. The State Department’s USA dar Farsi Facebook page, which often takes questions from Facebook users in Persian, has over 100k likes. This Facebook page has also taken on the challenge of creating videos for teaching native Persian speakers English idioms and popular phrases. Eyre also played a key role in the nuclear negotiations between the P5 + 1 and Iran and his poise when answering tough questions posed by the Iranian media is impressive.

Alan Eyre’s Persian is definitely amazing, especially considering that he was self-taught, but it’s not perfect. You can hear his American accent when he speaks Persian and he uses very formal vocabulary, but the reason his Persian is so great is because his grammar is impeccable and he truly understands a lot of Persian proverbs and idioms and he utilizes them perfectly and effortlessly. You can hear him correct a mis-conjugated verb and immediately replace it with the corrected form in this video interview with Radio Farda, demonstrating that he can easily recognize and correct his mistakes, which is something that instructors look for when administering an oral proficiency interview. Here are a few surprising facts about Eyre though: He has never traveled to Iran, despite being obsessed with the nation for nearly 30 years. Also, his position as Persian Language Spokesperson actually has an Iranian counterpart. Mohammad Javad Zarif is the Iranian equivalent of Alan Eyre and just like Alan will take on Twitter questions and will issue English statements directed at Americans about Iranian issues. The existence of positions such as “Persian Language Spokesperson” and “English Language Spokesperson” speaks volumes as to the improvements that have been made in Iranian-American relations and the existence of a digital embassy that Iranians can use to perform some of the typical functions of a physical embassy bodes well for the possibility of further improvement in this relationship.

This video interview in Persian sheds a little light on the role he played in the nuclear negotiations and demonstrates his Persian speaking abilities:

The below vocabulary list comes from this Alan Eyre Radio Farda interview. This link includes a video of the interview as well as a transcript of the interview in Persian.

قبل از هر چيز First of all
از دعوت شما تشکر می کنم Thanks for the invitation
به من فرصت داديد You gave me the opportunity
اصل مطلب اين است که The point is that
نسبت به پيام های پيشين Compared to previous messages
اين بار This time
صراحت بيشتری Greater positivity
پيغام دولت آمريکا عوض نشده است The message of the US government hasn’t changed
يکی از ارکان اصلی سياست خارجی دولت پرزيدنت اوباما One of the main pillars of President Obama’s foreign policy
 حقوق جهانی Worldwide rights
کا در کنار مردم ايران ايستاده است America stands with the Iranian people
تجزيه و تحليل Analysis
همان گونه که آقای اوباما گفتند As President Obama said…
 آينده ايران، در دست خود مردم ايران است The future of Iran is in the hands of the Iranian people
شرايط فعلی Current conditions
حکومت جمهوری اسلامی ايران بايد تصميم بگيرد The Islamic Republic of Iran must decide
به جای سرکوب و ناديده انگاشتن حقوق جهانی شهروندانش Instead of repressing and denying the universal rights of its citizens
به مطالبات مردم ايران پاسخ مناسبی بدهد (it) should respond to the demands of the Iranian people
 از جنبش های مردمی منطقه خاورميانه و شمال آفريقا حمايت کند Support the popular movements in the Middle East and North Africa
اين سياست تغيير نخواهد کرد This policy will not change
ما ايران را فرا می خوانيم تا با همکاری با بقيه اعضاء جامعه بين المللی We urge Iran to cooperate with other members of the International community
جهت تحکيم ثبات و صلح در منطقه In order to consolidate stability and peace in the region
ثبات زدايی و تحريکات قومی و نژادی Relaxation and stimulation of racial and ethnic stability
تحولات تازه خاورميانه و آفريقای شمالی New developments in the Middle East and North Africa
اين موضع کاملا يکسان است This position is exactly the same
وضعيت هر کشور منحصر به فرد است Each country’s situation is unique
ولی در نهايت But in the end
امکان دسترسی ايران به سلاح هسته ای The possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons
راه همکاری با تعامل به جای تقابل باز است The path to an open dialogue instead of confrontation is open
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