Obama Addresses Iranian People in New Year’s Message

U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the Iranian people in a video message on the occasion of the Persian New Year, Nowruz. Obama said that the offer of dialog he made one year ago was still valid. The Iranian government, however, has preferred isolation. On the New Year in 2009, he had already addressed the Iranian people directly.

The U.S. had respect for the dignity of every human being and wanted a future in which the Iranians could use their rights, Obama said. “That includes the right to speak freely, to assemble without fear, the right to the equal administration of justice and to express your views without facing retribution against you or your families.” Therefore, the U.S. has held onto the obligation to achieve a more hopeful future for the Iranian people, despite differences with the Iranian government. Obama pronounced himself in favor of student exchange.

The U.S. would make an effort to provide the Iranian people with access to Internet software and technology so that they could communicate with “each other and with the world,” Obama said. Iran’s opposition had used the online short message service Twitter, social networks like Facebook and the Internet portal YouTube to organize during the protests after the controversial presidential elections.

At the same time, Obama reaffirmed the readiness of the U.S. to engage in dialog. It was the government in Tehran that has decided to isolate. The offer of dialog he made one year ago is still valid. Tehran had to be held liable for him not fulfilling his obligation in nuclear issues. “It is the Iranian government that has chosen to isolate itself and to choose a self-defeating focus on the past over commitment to a better future.”

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