Overheard high on Foggy Bottom

We understand that Secretary of State John Kerry placed a frantic call to Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Zarif yesterday after the Supreme Leader’s speech on the occasion of National Nuclear Technology Day. According to the partial transcript provided to us, the conversation went down like this:

John Kerry: Mohammad, your Supreme Leader is killing us! We understand he might have gotten carried away in the spirit of the day. Can you help us out here?

Mohammad Zarif: Sorry, my friend, you’re on your own. You’ve got more — what’s the word in English — flexibility than I do, if you know what I mean. Your Supreme Leader gives you more rope to play with than mine! He saves his for business.

JK: We will “explain” that the speech was for domestic political consumption. You know what I mean — like the “fact sheet” we put out on the deal.

MZ: We have so much in common. We both have to deal with our hardliners.

JK: Do you think you could talk to your Supreme Leader about publishing his fatwa against nuclear weapons? That would help us out and you wouldn’t even be giving up anything to us.

MZ: What fatwa?

JK: Haven’t you heard about the Supreme Leader’s fatwa? We’ve been talking about it a lot. Don’t you follow the news?

MZ: I follow the Iranian news.

JK: Well, would you mind if our Supreme Leader published his own fatwa against nuclear weapons? You know, he’s an authority in his own right and Islam is a religion of peace!

MZ: Stop, you’re killing me!

JK: You mean you haven’t heard?

MZ: Don’t you follow the news?

JK: Okay, I guess we’ll go with our Supreme Leader’s fatwa.

MZ: Why don’t you have him follow up on his critique of Christians and Christianity?

JK: You do follow the news!

With any luck, the transcripts will keep coming as the parties continue their discussions.

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