Obama offers another New Year's message to Iran
By Michael D. Shear
For the second year in a row, President Obama offered a message to the Iranian people on that country's New Year's holiday, known as Nowruz.
In the video message, released at midnight Saturday morning, Obama promised that despite differences with the Iranian government, Americans will "sustain our commitment to a more hopeful future for the Iranian people," according to excerpts released by the White House.
Obama's first Nowruz message last year effectively kicked off his policy of engagement and his outreach to Muslim people, extending what he called an "open hand" to the Islamic people.
But in the year since, that hand has hardly been received kindly by the leadership of Iran. The Iranian government conducted a much-condemned crackdown after disputed elections there, and has refused international demands it curtail its nuclear program.
In his message, Obama made clear that his government will continue to exert pressure on the Iranian government to comply with international laws.
"We are working with the international community to hold the Iranian government accountable because they refuse to live up to their international obligations," he said. "But our offer of comprehensive diplomatic contacts and dialogue stands. 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."
Last year's message can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/nowruz/.
Michael D. Shear
March 20, 2010; 12:01 AM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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