Obama appeals to Iran for ‘partnership’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama appealed to Iran’s leaders to establish "renewed exchanges" with Americans and "greater opportunities for partnership and commerce."

Obama delivered the message on March 19 via a video posted on the White House’s Web site delivering greetings on the secular holiday of Nowruz, which marks the arrival of spring and the pre-Islamic Iranian new year.

"The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations," Obama said.  "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."

Israel and the United States believe that Iran could achieve the capacity to build a nuclear weapon within a year. Obama’s strategy has been to ramp up pressure on Iran through increased sanctions while accelerating diplomatic outreach.

"So on the occasion of your New Year, I want you, the people and leaders of Iran, to understand the future that we seek," Obama said. "It’s a future with renewed exchanges among our people, and greater opportunities for partnership and commerce. It’s a future where the old divisions are overcome, where you and all of your neighbors and the wider world can live in greater security and greater peace."

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