CHANGE: Obama Offers Iran A New Deal

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FINANCIAL TIMES: President Barack Obama on Friday issued a widely awaited message to the people and government of Iran in his bid to end a 30-year diplomatic standoff between the US and the Islamic Republic. In an Iranian New Year video message released on the internet, Mr Obama emphasised the benefits of increased cooperation with Washington rather than stressing sanctions or military action.

“The US wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations,” he said. “You obamasignofprogress.thumbnail.jpghave 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.”

In his address directed at “the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” and capped with a Farsi phrase wishing Iranians a happy new year, Mr Obama repeatedly praised Iran’s “great and celebrated culture” and quoted the medieval Persian poet Saadi on the unity of ”the children of Adam”. He added: “For nearly three decades relations between our nations have been strained. But… within these celebrations lies the promise of a new day, the promise of opportunity for our children, security for our families, progress for our communities, and peace between nations.”

Mr Obama said the US was “committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the US, Iran and the international community.” In words that contrasted markedly with the language employed by former President George W Bush, Mr Obama added: “This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.” MORE

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Complete Transcript

TIMES ONLINE COMMENTS SECTION:

Barack Obama is truly a great man and statesmam.This is the new way to do politics, the way to new beginnings; extending the hand of frienship and mutual respect, not resorting to hubris. Barack Obama embodies hope and trust in humanity – he is simply God-Sent.

john zammit, st venera, malta

I’m not an American and I know this guy is a politician, but that is probably the best political statement obamasignofprogress.thumbnail.jpgI have seen in modern times – if for nothing else than the fact that it speaks of peace rather than threatens violence. Voting this guy in was a great move America.

John, London,

Diplomacy is the way forward. By his statement Barrack Obama has not only appealed to one of the oldest civilisations in the world to embrace peace, he also has shown humility of the most powerful country on earth today. Israel should also take this opportunity help build peace in the Middle-east.

Alex E, Bribane, Australia MORE

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