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Nuclear Noise: Iran Hard-Liners' Music Video Takes Shot At Vienna Talks

A screenshot from the music video

Iranian hard-liners have launched a viral-video offensive likening Tehran's counterparts in tense nuclear negotiations to wolves and stoking memories of bitter chapters in U.S.-Iranian history.

The clip presents a song titled Hotel Coburg, after the venue in Vienna of the latest round of protracted negotiations for a nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers: Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, plus Germany.

The lyrics suggest that Iran's negotiating partners -- and mainly the United States, whose officials past and present are repeatedly shown alongside Israeli officials -- cannot be trusted:

"I'm pessimistic about the smile of the wolf.
I'm pessimistic about the big lie.
The talks are warming up.
The siege is getting tighter."

Iran's hard-line Fars news agency says the clip was released by the Basij House of Music following Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's recent suggestion that poets should speak out against evil.

Khamenei said on July 1 that "poets cannot be impartial in the battle between truth and evil."

"If poets and artists take an impartial position, they have wasted God's gift to them," he added, according to a text of the speech posted on website

Fars interpreted Khamenei's comments as a call for poets to express themselves on the country's most pressing issues.

The song describes the negotiations as a chess game in which one side, Iran, is negotiating under "the shadow of threats."

It also reminds listeners some of some of the darkest historical episodes between Iran and the United States, including the 1953 CIA-sponsored coup in Iran -- known in Iran as the "28 Mordad Coup" -- and the downing in 1988 of an Iranian civilian passenger airliner by a U.S. Navy warship that reported having mistaken it for a fighter jet.

The USS Vincennes fired two surface-to-air missiles at Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 people aboard, including 60 children.

The singer intones:

"What can I say? The bitterness of 28 Mordad can't be forgotten.
Your wave of laughter is over there.
The Vincennes is seen from here."

The song also echoes an allegation frequently leveled by Iranian officials who suggest that UN arms inspectors tasked with monitoring Iran's nuclear facilities are U.S. spies. And it blames the United States for a spate of at least four assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists in 2012 that was regarded by Tehran as an attempt to hamper Iran's nuclear program.

"The observers of the CIA agency;
The lines of their files are visible;
It's the murder map of [senior nuclear scientist Majid] Shahryari [and others]."

Hard-liners critical of the talks have generally kept a low profile amid widespread regime support for the Iranian nuclear negotiators led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

But they have made it clear on a number of occasions that even if a nuclear deal is reached, the United States will remain "The Great Satan."

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    Golnaz Esfandiari

    Golnaz Esfandiari is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL focusing on Iran. She has reported from Afghanistan and Haiti and is one of the authors of The Farda Briefing newsletter. Her work has been cited by The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other major publications. Born and raised in Tehran, she is fluent in Persian, French, English, and Czech.