Obama appeals to Iranian people

In new video, president says US still interested in dialogue [video inside].

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
March 20, 2010 12:13
2 minute read.
US President Barack Obama.

Obama serious 311. (photo credit: AP)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

In a fresh appeal directly to the Iranian people, US President Barack Obama says in an online video that the United States wants more educational and cultural exchanges for their students and better access to the Internet to give them a more hopeful future.

In the video, the second of his presidency directed at Iran, Obama said that the United States' offer of diplomatic dialogue still stands but that the Iranian government has chosen isolation. He said the US believes in the dignity of every human being.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.




The White House released the video late Friday, timing it, as it did last year, to coincide with Nowruz, a 12-day holiday celebrating the arrival of spring and the beginning of the new year on the Persian calendar. The video comes as the United States has hit a rough patch in its relationships in the region, particularly with Israel.

"The United States believes in the dignity of every human being and an international order that bends the arc of history in the direction of justice — a future where Iranians can exercise their rights, to participate fully in the global economy and enrich the world through educational and cultural exchanges beyond Iran's borders," Obama said in the video, which had Farsi subtitles.

Even though the United States and Iran continue to have differences, Obama said, "we will sustain our commitment to a more hopeful future for the Iranian people — for instance, by increasing opportunities for educational exchanges so that Iranian students can come to our colleges and universities and through our efforts to ensure that Iranians can have access to the software and Internet technology that will enable them to communicate with each other and with the world without fear of censorship."

Obama has signaled a willingness to speak directly with Iran about its nuclear program and hostility toward Israel, a key US ally. At his inauguration last year, the president said his administration would reach out to rival states, declaring "we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."



It's been a rough road for Obama, and there have been few signs Teheran is loosening its grip after bloody elections marred with allegations of fraud. And efforts to impose new sanctions have been slow to find unified support from US allies.

"Our offer of comprehensive diplomatic contacts and dialogue stands," Obama said in the video. "Indeed, over the course of the last year, it is the Iranian government that has chosen to isolate itself and to choose a self-defeating focus on the past over a commitment to build a better future." The United States has not had formal diplomatic relations with Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has criticized Obama as merely a continuation of President George W. Bush's policies toward Israel. Khamenei has called Israel a "cancerous tumor" that is on the verge of collapse and has called for its destruction.

Last year, Obama's message to the Iranians warned that better relations "will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said then that Iran would welcome talks with the US — but only if there was mutual respect.

Related Content

Bushehr nuclear Iranian
August 5, 2014
Iran and the bomb: The future of negotiations

By YONAH JEREMY BOB