TEHRAN, IRAN – Buoyed by his historic 15 minute phone call with President Obama on Friday—but still a stranger to telephone etiquette—Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reportedly left President Obama 23 increasingly histrionic phone messages between 7:40PM Friday night and 4:12AM Saturday morning, wondering why Obama wasn’t returning his calls.
According to a White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, the final message recorded an inebriated-sounding Rouhani threatening, “If you don’t call me back, I’m going to bomb Israel! I WILL! I’ll bomb Israel! Then you’ll be sorry.”
Carney added, “Who would have thought that the next Middle East war would not be over oil or nuclear arsenals, but unreturned phone calls?”
The unexpected crisis came as a result of last week’s visit by Rouhani to the United States. He and President Obama were expected to have a historic handshake – the first physical contact between presidents of the two countries in 30 years—but Rouhani spurned the symbolic gesture, reportedly because he wanted the first encounter between the two heads of state to be more substantial. Shortly before his departure back home, President Obama called him and wished him a good trip.
After the call, Rouhani told an aide that Obama was a “cool dude,” a designation that doesn’t exist in Iran. “President Rouhani just wanted to ‘chill,’ talk the baseball playoffs and what’s the problem with Miley Cyrus, something that he can’t do in Iran,” the aide said.
President Obama, accustomed to heavy scrutiny, refused to return Rouhani’s calls because he feared it would send the wrong signal to Israel. “Israel really keeps track of these things,” Carney said.
Things started out normally enough, with Rouhani leaving Obama a “Hi, it’s me – Hassan“ message. Seventeen minutes later, when Obama didn’t respond, Rouhani called again, and left a “In case your machine didn’t record me” message. According to Carney, things started getting “weird” by Rouhani’s eighth message, when the Iranian President pleadingly asked point-blank if Obama “was seeing some other world leader.”
President Obama told the aide that he thought it was silly not to call the Iranian President, but was persuaded of the dangers.
“The President fears that if he calls him back, pretty soon Rouhani will want to make him a ‘Facebook friend’ and that is a line President Obama will not cross,” Carney emphasized.
Carney cautioned Rouhani to “cool it,” or else “it’ll be another thirty years before he speaks with an American president.”