Obama offers olive branch to Iran
US President Barack Obama sought on Friday launched an historic appeal directly to the Iranian people, urging a resolution of differences and an "honest" engagement with Tehran.
According to AFP, the US leader said Washington was committed to pursuing "constructive ties" with Tehran and that the Islamic republic could take its "rightful place" in the world if it renounced terror and embraced peace. "My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community," Obama said in the message marking the start Friday of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year.
"For nearly three decades relations between our nations have been strained," he said. "But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us together."
Calling the Nowruz celebrations a time of "new beginnings", Obama said he wanted "to speak clearly to Iran's leaders" about the need for a new era of "engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."
Obama said "the United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations."
"You have that right -- but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization.
"And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is your demonstrated ability to build and create."