WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama criticized the Iranian regime for prohibiting its citizens from communicating freely and defying international demands on its nuclear program during his annual message marking the Nowruz holiday Tuesday.
He also told the Iranian people that, despite this “time of continued tension,” America and Iran don’t need to be divided if the Iranian government acts responsibly on its nuclear program and human rights.
“Because of the actions of the Iranian regime, an electronic curtain has fallen around Iran – a barrier that stops the free flow of information and ideas into the country,” Obama charged in his message. “Technologies that should empower citizens are being used to repress them.”
He said that on Tuesday his administration would be issuing new guidelines to make it easier for American businesses to provide software and services to Iran that would help Iranians use the Internet.
“The Iranian government has a responsibility to respect these rights, just as it has a responsibility to meet its obligations with regard to its nuclear program,” Obama said.
But, he stressed, “If the Iranian government pursues a responsible path, it will be welcomed once more among the community of nations, and the Iranian people will have greater opportunities to prosper.”