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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Israeli Diplomats Mock Iran’s President Online

On a day when President Obama told delegates at the United Nations that he welcomed the opportunity posed by diplomatic overtures from Iran’s new president, Israeli diplomats in Washington sounded a very different note online, mocking the moderate cleric as scarcely different from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

A message posted on the official Twitter page of the Israeli Embassy on Tuesday morning drew attention to a parody LinkedIn account for President Hassan Rouhani. The mock résumé of Mr. Rouhani’s career, filled with sarcastic asides, described him as “President of Iran, Expert Salesman, PR Professional, Nuclear Proliferation Advocate.”

Under the heading, Skills and Experience, the fake LinkedIn page posted on the embassy’s Web site included “International Sales,” “Deceptive Trade Practices,” “Nuclear Weapons,” “Twitter,” “Public Relations” and “Illusion” in a long list.

A summary of the fake Mr. Rouhani’s experience, written in the straw man’s name, boasted: “Since my election as president of Iran in 2013, I have developed and executed an unprecedented PR campaign for the government of Iran. Through a series of statements, tweets, op-eds and smiles I have re-branded the human-rights-suppressing, Ayatollah-led regime as moderate and a source of hope among the international community.”

The satirical pitch concluded, “If you’re looking for a persuasive communications expert and master salesman capable of making almost anything believable, I’m your man.”

The embassy’s attempt to take some of the shine off the new administration’s image came as Mr. Rouhani’s Twitter-savvy foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, suggested on the social network that his talks this week with foreign ministers of nations concerned about Iran’s nuclear program could produce a breakthrough.

Some hours later, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israeli diplomats in New York would not be present to listen to the new Iranian president’s address, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.