Reza Aslan of USC writes in the Daily Beast of what happens next after the Hollywood delegation returns from Iran:
“The fact is that the Americans could not have traveled to Iran without the express approval of the Iranian government in general and of Ahmadinejad’s office in particular. What is less certain is whether the delegation’s trip to Iran was authorized or in any way coordinated by the State Department. (The members of the delegation deny any involvement by the Obama administration.) President Obama has repeatedly promised face-to-face diplomacy with Iran, though most analysts believe that the US will not reach out to the Iranian regime in any formal way until after Iran’s presidential elections on June 12—an election that, according to many Iran observers, Ahmadinejad is sure to lose. (His poll numbers in Iran hover right around George Bush’s numbers in the US.) Until then, it is expected that any high-level contact between the US and Iran will take place behind closed doors, away from media scrutiny, to avoid the possibility of embarrassment should talks fail.”
He also reiterates a point he made with me yesterday: Iranians, particularly the younger generation, are savvy to U.S. films and, despite the government’s condemnation of what comes out of Hollywood, they do have a respect for American entertainment. The catch is that they are watching many of these movies on pirated DVDs, even before the movies are released in American theaters. That, of course, is the least of the problems that the U.S. has with Iran.
More on the delegation’s visit here.