Obama to Iran: Choose between nukes, world community

WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama said "Iran must choose" between its suspected nuclear weapons program and the international community.

Obama made his remarks in a statement released Wednesday marking the 30th anniversary of the Iran hostage crisis.

On Nov. 4, 1979, Iranian students seized the U.S. Embassy; they held 53 Americans hostage for 444 days.

"This event helped set the United States and Iran on a path of sustained suspicion, mistrust and confrontation," Obama said. "I have made it clear that the United States of America wants to move beyond this past, and seeks a relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran based upon mutual interests and mutual respect."

The U.S. leader reiterated the offer of the major powers to help Iran acquire medical-use enriched uranium in exchange for closer international scrutiny of its nuclear program.

"Iran must choose," Obama said. "We have heard for 30 years what the Iranian government is against. The question now is what kind of future it is for."

Iran accepted the offer when it was put forward in September, but last week it declined, at least for the time being.

Iran also figured in the outcome of a summit Obama had Wednesday with the leaders of the European Union.

The summit document reiterates "our commitment to seek a comprehensive, long-term and appropriate solution to the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation. This continues to be the objective of our dual-track approach and implies that Iran must fulfill its international obligations on its nuclear program."

The "dual-track approach" refers to the threat to intensify sanctions against Iran should it not cooperate.

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