U.S. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley urged Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to celebrate his 55th birthday by releasing detained Americans Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer and sending them home in a posting to the micro-blogging site Twitter.
"What a gift that would be," he wrote.
Crowley also urged Ahmadinejad to open Iran to a "different relationship with the world."
There has been no response so far from Tehran, but his comments probably won't be taken well by Iranians.
Crowley was the same guy earlier this month who admitted sanctions on Iran were hurting ordinary people and not just the government, and that the U.S. was pretty much alright with that.
"We believe sanctions are increasing," he told reporters. "In the private sector, company by company are refusing to do business with Iran. It is having an impact on the ground and it is contrary to the best interests of the Iranian people who definitely want to have a different kind of relationship with the rest of the world."
He added, "To the extent that we can, we are directing our efforts at entities that we think support the government and its policies. I don't think that we can deny that there are ripple effects and that there are impacts that go beyond that."